As Andrei Golutvin’s term as LHCb spokesperson began to draw to a close, Italian Pierluigi Campana found himself chosen for the big chair. And in his case, he was genuinely surprised. Although he’d been with the LHCb collaboration since construction and had been elected the national contact person for the 10-institute-strong Italian LHC collaboration, he thought his chances for the position were slim. “Virtually every LHC experiment has an Italian spokesperson – ATLAS, CMS, TOTEM, ALICE and, now, LHCb!” explains Pierluigi.
Pierluigi Campana began his 3-year tenure as LHCb spokesperson in June 2011. As the new voice for the collaboration, Campana will lead the experiment through what should prove to be a very exciting phase. “The important role of LHCb is to have a complementary approach with respect to the larger experiments,” he explains. “One of the main goals of my job will be to enhance the spirit of collaboration between the different institutes within our experiment.”
Pierluigi was born and raised in Rome, and chose to pursue his undergraduate education in his hometown, at the University of Rome in Sapienza. Before starting his thesis at the Istituto Nazionale di Fisica Nucleare in Frascati, the institute with which he is still associated, Pierluigi came to CERN as a Summer Student in 1980. His short summer trip was to be the beginning of a long collaboration with the organisation.
For his thesis, Pierluigi worked on the Nusex detector, a state-of-the-art detector installed in the Mont Blanc tunnel designed to measure the lifetime of the proton. Throughout the six years he spent with the project, he commuted between Frascati and CERN. In 1986, his group started working with the Aleph experiment, where they applied the detector technology they had developed for Nusex. While following the Aleph data taking, Pierluigi returned to Frascati, where he examined CP violation at the KLOE detector at DAFNE.
Pierluigi joined the LHCb collaboration in 2002, where he began as team leader of the Frascati group. He and his group were heavily involved in the construction of the muon chambers of the LHCb detector. “We shared the responsibility of the construction with Italian, CERN and Russian teams,” explains Pierluigi. “Work of the detector was being carried out across Europe – from St. Petersburg to Italy to CERN. I somehow became the coordinator of this logistically complex project; while it wasn’t easy, it was nice to work with some many different groups that were all focussed on a single goal.”
After over 30 years spent on the road between Italy and Switzerland, Pierluigi will be settling down at CERN for the next 3 years in order to fulfil his obligations as spokesperson. “It’s a real change of pace for me,” he admits. “But I’m looking forward to guiding the LHCb collaboration through its golden years.”