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Philippe Mermod (1978 – 2020)

Portrait of Philippe Mermod


It is with great sadness that we inform you that Philippe Mermod, a member of the ATLAS and SHiP collaborations at CERN, passed away on 20 August 2020.

Philippe was born in Geneva in 1978 He obtained his Master’s degree in 2002 from the University of Geneva and his PhD in 2006 from Uppsala University. He joined ATLAS in 2007, affiliated first with Stockholm University and then with Oxford University and, in 2011, rejoined the Particle Physics Department (DPNC) at the University of Geneva as a research associate, becoming SNF Assistant Professor in 2014. 

Philippe made several contributions to ATLAS. Among them, he pioneered the search for displaced heavy neutral leptons and led the effort on the search for highly-ionising particles in Run 2. He also made important contributions to the trigger system. His preferred topic was the search for magnetic monopoles, which he performed using various techniques in ATLAS, MoEDAL and other small experiments. 

Always looking for more science, he also participated in the SHiP experiment. Moreover, he recently made significant contributions to the design and construction of the Time of Flight (ToF) detector for the near detector upgrade of the T2K collaboration in Japan; this is the first modern neutrino detector applying this technology.

We all followed with great interest the journey of this magnificent human being, passionate about physics, where he sought the answer to questions rather than personal promotion. Philippe was an intense scientist, curious to explore new paths, who devoted his attention and efforts to fundamental phenomena. He was also an active citizen, conscious of the need for fairness and sustainability if humanity was to have a future, whether he would see it himself or, alas, not. We will miss his energy, ideas and vision.

We would like to express our sympathies and heartfelt condolences to his wife and his family.

His colleagues and friends