Choosing the next spokesperson

1 July 2008

The three candidates: Fabiola Gianotti, Marzio Nessi, and Leonardo Rossi

In just two weeks, we’ll know the identity of the next ATLAS spokesperson. The Collaboration Board, composed of one representative from each of the 167 institutions in ATLAS, is set to hold the election in the afternoon of July 11th, the last day of ATLAS week in Bern. The term of office of the next spokesperson starts on March 1st 2009 and lasts for two years.

The nomination process started on October 30th 2007, with a general email calling for nominations, and closed on January 25th 2008. Any ATLAS physicist could nominate a candidate, and 24 nominees emerged from the considerable response.

Extensive considerations by the search committee narrowed the nominees to a shortlist, and finally, three candidates have agreed to stand: Fabiola Gianotti, Marzio Nessi, and Leonardo Rossi. Kerstin Jon-And, chairperson of the search committee, is pleased with the result, saying: “I’m happy to see that we have such good candidates.”

Although our style of elections does not include campaigning, the candidates have each published statements on ATLAS internal pages, online since the end of May.

Individual physicists had the power to nominate, but votes are cast by institution. If representatives from all 167 institutions cannot attend the meeting, it is possible for one institution to cast a vote for another. ATLAS must be informed in advance of an institution naming a procurator, during the morning of July 11th at the very latest. No institution may cast more than its own vote and those of two other institutions.

The election is decided in one or two rounds. To win the first round, a candidate must receive more than half the votes. Valid ballots either choose one candidate or choose none. Institutions that cast abstaining ballots essentially vote against all three candidates, reducing the likelihood that they will secure 50% of the Collaboration Board’s support.

Should no candidate receive half the vote, institutions must choose between the top two candidates in the second round. Abstaining ballots mean nothing in this round because whichever candidate receives the most votes is named spokesperson. The second round would take place later in the afternoon, with the future spokesperson decided by the end of the day.

Choosing the deputy spokesperson(s) is a separate process, possibly beginning when the new spokesperson nominates one or two candidates for consideration by the Collaboration Board.

Katie McAlpine

ATLAS e-News