Celebratory colloquium on the occasion of the 80th birthday of Professor Hans Gutbrod


On November 1, the 80th birthday of Professor Dr. Dr. h.c. Hans Gutbrod was celebrated with a colloquium highlighting the scientific milestones of his career. Four renowned scientist-colleagues reported in lectures on Hans Gutbrod’s work and achievements in the field of relativistic heavy-ion physics.

Professor Karl-Heinz Kampert from the University of Wuppertal gave account of Hans Gutbrod’s pioneering work at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory where he built, together with Arthur Poskanzer and Hans-Georg Ritter, the GSI-LBL 4π detector “Plastic Ball”. They discovered the collective behavior of nuclear matter ("flow"), which remains one of the most important observables in heavy-ion physics today.

Hans Gutbrod and the Plastic Ball continued their investigations at the CERN accelerator SPS, where he was the spokesperson for the groundbreaking SPS heavy-ion experiments WA80/93/98. Thomas Peitzmann, then a postdoctoral researcher and now a distinguished professor at Utrecht University, shed light on this period in a talk entitled “A Universal Light Experience”.

Together with Jürgen Schuhkraft and others, Hans Gutbrod also laid the foundations for the LHC experiment ALICE. The early “ALICE years” were conveyed by Professor Paolo Giubellino, Jürgen Schuhkraft’s successor as ALICE spokesperson and today’s Scientific Managing Director of GSI and FAIR. He made it clear that without Hans Gutbrod’s contribution ALICE would not look the way it does today. In particular, his influence on India's contribution to ALICE cannot be overstated, as emphasized in a video commentary by Professor  Subhasis Chattopadhyay of the VECC Kolkata.

Hans Gutbrod was appointed director of the shortly before founded SUBATECH in Nantes in 1995, where he also served as spokesperson for ALICE-FRANCE, while being deputy- spokesperson of ALICE and project leader of the Dimuon Spectrometer of ALICE.  In a short video presentation, Professor Pol-Bernard Gossiaux of Subatech, made clear that Hans Gutbrod was a driving force in the development of the institute.

When Hans Gutbrod decided to return to GSI in March 2001 to work on the “Future project of GSI”, he made significant contributions to the design of the FAIR project as leader of the Joint Core Team. This very productive time was recounted in a richly varied and pictorial way by the former scientific director of GSI Professor Horst Stöcker in talk entitled “FAIR in Europe — from the roots to today — 50 good years with Hans — in 50 minutes”.

All lectures were very much enjoyed by the participants of the symposium. At the end, Hans Gutbrod himself gave a short speech thanking all colleagues who accompanied him on his way. He also thanked the technical staff of GSI, LBL,CERN and Subatech for their efforts in the realization of the experiments and especially Professor Rudolf Bock, who was his PhD supervisor and his constant mentor. (CP)