Bjørn Jacobsen, Norwegian delegate to the CERN Council and previous Chair of the CERN Finance Committee, passed away on 13 June after a few months of illness.
Jacobsen studied physics at the University of Oslo, where he obtained his PhD in space physics in 1991. He spent the next 12 years in research in Norway and abroad, in particular two years at the European Space Research and Technology Centre (ESTEC) at Noordwijk in the Netherlands. In 2003, he joined the Research Council of Norway (RCN) where he worked until his death. On joining RCN, he immediately became involved with CERN, first as an advisor to the Norwegian delegation and a member of the Finance Committee, and then, in 2008, he became a Council delegate. He was Chair of the Finance Committee from 2011 to 2013, having served as the Committee’s Vice-Chair from 2009 to 2010. In his capacity as Chair of the Finance Committee, he also served as Chair of CERN’s Standing Advisory Committee on Audits (SACA). More recently, he was a member of the External Review Committee set up in April 2016 to optimise CERN’s use of financial and human resources.
Bjørn led the Finance Committee with calmness and wisdom. He managed to balance firmness and flexibility, and was met with general acclaim and respect. Always attentive and consensus-oriented, he smoothly steered this Committee through waters that could sometimes get rough. His interventions in the various fora were thoughtful and balanced. He was a modest and conscientious person who met everybody with respect and friendliness.
Bjørn played an important role as a source of contact and inspiration for the small Norwegian community at CERN and the high-energy physics community at large in Norway. He was also instrumental in the successful campaign to recruit Norwegian technical students to CERN.
His assistance to the Norwegian research community was not limited to high-energy physics. Bjørn coordinated support for all the RCN’s physics programmes. More recently, he served as Special Advisor for the Norwegian contribution to large international infrastructure programs such as ESS (European Spallation Source), EISCAT (European Incoherent Scatter Scientific Association) and NOT (Nordic Optical Telescope).
Bjørn Jacobsen was the type of colleague, scientific policy advisor and friend whom we could not afford to lose. We will miss him dearly, and his memory will stay with us.
His colleagues and friends
This obit will appear also in the October issue of the CERN Courier.