German Physicist Gustav-Adolf Voss Wins 2009 Tate Medal
$10,000 Awarded for International Leadership in Physics
WASHINGTON, DC, 7 January 2010 — The American Institute of Physics (AIP) announced today that it has awarded its 2009 John Torrence Tate Award for International Leadership in Physics to German accelerator physicist Gustav-Adolf Voss. Professor Voss will receive his medal, certificate of recognition, and a $10,000 prize on February 14, 2010 at the American Physical Society meeting in Washington, D.C.
Throughout his long and distinguished career, Professor Voss often brought an international flavor to his projects by reaching out to and involving many foreign scientists. After the breakup of the former Soviet Union, for instance, he found professional opportunities and financial support for numerous Eastern Bloc scientists, helping to preserve their careers. Since 1997 he has been a critical contributor to the Synchrotron-Light for Experimental Science and Applications in the Middle East (SESAME), a large research laboratory in Jordan that is now in construction as a collaboration of nine Middle Eastern countries.
Born in Berlin, Germany in 1929, Gustav-Adolf Voss obtained his Dipl.-Ing and Ph.D. degrees from the Technische Universität Berlin-Charlottenburg in 1953 and 1955. From 1955-59 he was a research fellow at Geißen University, the Technische Universität Berlin and the DESY Laboratory in Hamburg. In 1959 he came to the Harvard University/MIT Cambridge Electron Accelerator (CEA), where he rose from research fellow to assistant director and led the CEA bypass project that converted the cyclic CEA synchrotron to a colliding beam storage ring. Under his leadership, the project produced the first multi-GeV positron-electron collisions in the early 1970's. The low-beta interaction region he invented would become a standard design feature of all colliding beam storage rings.
In 1973 he returned to DESY and helped to transform it into a world-leading accelerator laboratory as the vice chair of the Deutsches Elektronen-Synchrotron (DESY) Directorate for Accelerators. He served as project leader for the Positron-Electron Tandem Ring Accelerator (PETRA) and the Hadron Elektron Ring Anlage (HERA) storage rings and coordinated studies for a 500 GeV(cms) linear collider.
Since 1997 he has been a critical contributor to SESAME. Modeled after CERN, this collaboration of nine Middle Eastern countries is constructing a synchrotron radiation research laboratory in Jordan. While leading the initial design, he brought the project to the attention of the German government, which agreed to transfer equipment from the decomissioned BESSY I facility in Berlin to SESAME, and to UNESCO, which became SESAME's umbrella organization.
Thanks to Voss' efforts to initiate and establish the project, which range from chairing the committee reviewing site proposals to arranging training in accelerator technology for Middle Eastern scientists and engineers, SESAME is now well underway as its staff installs equipment that will boost basic science and applied research in the Middle East. At dozens of SESAME workshops, schools and meetings, hundreds of scientists in the region have come together to provide input to the design of the facility and the scientific program, and to form new collaborations. Scientists from countries in conflict -- such as Israel and Iran or Cyprus and Turkey -- are now working together, and SESAME has become the quintessential science for peace project. For more information on SESAME, see: http://www.sesame.org.jo.
Over his career, Professor Voss published more than 50 scientific and technical papers and served on more than a dozen review and advisory committees at accelerator laboratories around the world. He received an honorary degree from the University of Heidelberg in 1982, and in 1985, Germany honored him with its Federal Cross of Merit, First Class. In 1994 Voss received the Robert R. Wilson Prize from the American Physical Society, and in 2007, he was the first to receive the DESY Golden Pin.
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