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Alexander Dmitrievich Kovalenko (1945 – 2021)

home.cern,Life at CERN

It is with great sadness that we have learned that Russian physicist Alexander Dmitrievich Kovalenko has passed away at the age of 76. Alexander had been assistant director of the LHE (Laboratory of High-Energy Physics) for the accelerator complex and ongoing experiments at JINR (Joint Institute for Nuclear Research) in Dubna, Russia.

Alexander was a household name at JINR, where he began working in 1967. His work had a major impact on the development of the LHE accelerator complex, of which he became chief engineer in 1992 after the construction of the world's first superconducting heavy-ion accelerator, the Nuclotron. The accelerator was based on innovative technology using superconducting fast-cycling magnets that remains a reference in the field to this day.

Alexander was esteemed in the CERN community for his contributions to the development of superconducting magnets and to many other domains of particle accelerator science. We kept in close contact with him until very recently: Alexander was in charge of a collaboration with CERN to study fast-cycled superconducting dipole magnets for an energy upgrade of the SPS from 450 GeV to 1.5 TeV that could enable it to be used as a possible injector for the Future Circular Collider.

We will remember Alexander as a real gentleman, passionate about his work, creative and pragmatic, and pleasant towards colleagues. He was a skilled communicator who could work fruitfully with anyone from young students to senior scientists regardless of culture, hierarchical roles or age.

We would like to express our sympathy and heartfelt condolences to his family, friends and colleagues.

Davide Tommasini, José Miguel Jimenez and Arnaud Devred