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Sir John Adams

Sir John Adams (24 May 1920 - 3 March 1984) was the 'father' of the giant particle accelerators which have made CERN the leader in the field of high energy physics. He was an extraordinary accelerator designer, engineer, scientist and administrator. He worked during World War II in the Radar Laboratories of the Ministry of Aircraft Production. Thereafter he worked at the Atomic Energy Research establishment at Harwell on the design and construction of a 180 MeV synchro-cyclotron.


Sir John Adams

He came to CERN in September 1953 and was appointed director of the PS division in 1954 at the age of 34, becoming the leader for the world's biggest particle accelerator project. From 1961-66 Adams worked as director of the Culham Fusion Laboratory. From 1966-71 he was member of the Board of the United Kingdom Atomic Energy Authority. In 1971 he returned to CERN and served until 1975 as Director-General of what was then called Laboratory II, responsible for the design and construction of the SPS accelerator. From 1976-80 he was executive Director-General of CERN and instrumental in getting approval for the LEP collider.

The Royal Society has published a biography of Sir John Bertram Adams (33-page PDF; 7Mb). It is also available, for those with JSTOR access, here (33 pages; image, PDF and PS files available on the JSTOR website).