Rolf-Dieter Heuer, former Director-General of CERN, presents the Nanovic Forum Lecture

Author: Jennifer Lechtanski

Dark Heuer
Rolf-Dieter Heuer served as Director-General of CERN, the European Organization for Nuclear Research, from 2009 to 2015.

Rolf-Dieter Heuer, former Director-General of CERN, the European Organization for Nuclear Research, will present the Nanovic Forum Lecture entitled “Science Bridging Cultures and Nations: Exploring the Early Universe” on February 21 (Tuesday) in Jordan Hall of Science at 5:00 p.m. Mary Galvin, William K. Warren Foundation Dean and Professor of Chemistry and Biochemistry in the College of Science will introduce the lecture.

Heuer will also present an informal colloquium on February 22 (Wednesday) at 5:15 p.m. entitled “The Higgs-Boson, CERN, and its Research Activities” in Nieuwland Hall, room 123 moderated by Michael Hildreth, Associate Dean of Research and Graduate Studies and Professor of Physics in the College of Science.  Both events are free and open to the public.

Professor Hildreth noted that Heuer’s “tenure as Director-General of CERN signaled a new era of scientific discovery, and, equally important, a new era of engagement between science, the arts and humanities, and the general public.” He anticipates that this visit to Notre Dame will engage scientists, humanists, artists, and students with his vision of scientific excellence as well as excellence in conveying the excitement and importance of science itself.

A. James McAdams, Director of the Nanovic Institute for European Studies, which is hosting the visit, describes Professor Heuer’s visit as, “a terrific opportunity for the sciences and engineering, and for the whole Notre Dame community.”

Professor Rolf-Dieter Heuer is an experimental particle physicist. He has been CERN Director-General from January 2009 to December 2015. His mandate is characterized by the start of the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) 2009 as well as its energy increase 2015, the discovery of the Higgs-Boson and the geographical enlargement of CERN Membership. He also actively engaged CERN in promoting the importance of science and STEM education for the sustainable development of the society. From 2004 to 2008, Heuer was research director for particle and astroparticle physics at the DESY laboratory, Germany, where he oriented the particle physics groups towards LHC by joining both large experiments, ATLAS and CMS. He has initiated restructuring and focusing of German HEP at the energy frontier with particular emphasis on LHC. Since April 2016 he is President of the German Physical Society. He is designated President of the Council of SESAME (Synchrotron-Light for Experimental Science and Applications in the Middle East). He is also one of the seven members of the High Level Group of scientific advisors to the European Commission's new Scientific Advice Mechanism (SAM) which was launched in November 2015. 

Professor Heuer has published over 500 scientific papers and holds many Honorary Degrees from universities in Europe, Asia, Australia and Canada. He is Member of several Academies of Sciences in Europe, in particular of the German Academy of Sciences Leopoldina, and Honorary Member of the European Physical Society. In 2015 he received the Grand Cross 1st class of the Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany. In 2016 he was appointed a Chevalier de la Légion d'honneur (Knight of the Legion of Honour) by the French Republic.

The Nanovic Institute, an integral part of the Keough School of Global Affairs at the University of Notre Dame, established the Nanovic Forum through the generosity of Robert and Elizabeth Nanovic, in order to continue to deepen Notre Dame’s rich tradition of connections to Europe by bringing prominent figures to campus in a wide range of fields to explore, discuss, and debate the most pressing questions about Europe today. 

Past Nanovic Forum speakers have included Lord Patten of Barnes, Chancellor of the University of Oxford; Horst Koehler, former president of Germany; Bernhard Schlink, a German novelist and constitutional court justice; and Hanna Suchocka, former prime minister of Poland.

More information on this visit and an archive of past Forum lectures is available at