In Memoriam: Helmut Braun (1943 – 2010)

25 January 2011

It is with sadness that we tell you about the death of our colleague and friend Helmut Braun, Thursday evening, the 30th of December. He was 67.

Helmut was a member of the Wuppertal group since the early 1980s and joined ATLAS in the mid nineties. He took a large responsibility inside the Liquid Argon collaboration for the High Voltage system.

Helmut remained dedicated to the experiment until a few weeks ago. He oversaw the HV operation and produced daily logs of the HV situation that were then used in the data quality tables. Even while suffering the effects of his illness and its treatment, he remained very much concerned with the stability of the HV supplies and organised regular meetings with the manufacturer to discuss improvements. We recently received an email from the Iseg company, expressing their feelings that: “Helmut Braun was an excellent scientist who put forward new ideas, discussed solutions and had an enormous knowledge on HV supplies.”

Helmut was a perfectionist and a scientist through and through, and he let himself be inspired by new ideas. For example two months ago he attended a theory seminar on new topological descriptions of the lepton sector and mixing and for weeks he would discuss these ideas with whomever was nearby.

Helmut loved books and would often tell us, coming back from the flea market in Plainpalais, of his findings of the week. His collection of books by Voltaire in particular, and more generally of the “philisophes des lumières”, together with original copies of scientific books from the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries probably surpassed many libraries!

We shall always remember his humour and his way to keep things in perspective.

There will be a ceremony in Helmut's memory during the summer, in the Geneva area, where we can give him the tribute he deserves. Our thoughts go to his son Deniz and his family and to Helmut's numerous friends.

We now need to surmount his absence and grieve.

Helmut’s colleagues and friends from ATLAS