DESY distinction for Albrecht Wagner and Jochen Schneider

DESY Director Helmut Dosch (centre) congratulated Albrecht Wagner (left) and Jochen Schneider at the presentation of the Golden Pins of Honour. Photo: DESY, Marta Mayer

A great distinction for two outstanding personalities: At this year´s DESY Science Day, Albrecht Wagner and Jochen Schneider were honoured with DESY´s Golden Pin of Honour. Wagner was Chairman of the DESY Board of Directors from 1999 to 2009, Schneider was DESY Director for Research with Photons from 2000 to 2007. “The Golden Pin of Honour is a special award that we handle very carefully,” said Helmut Dosch, Chairman of the DESY Board of Directors and Wagner´s successor. “But in these two cases, the decision was particularly easy.”

Albrecht Wagner and Jochen Schneider had been DESY pioneers in a very special time for the centre. “DESY was in an important phase in 1999, dealing with future projects, when the sudden death of Director Bjørn Wiik came as a big shock,” said Helmut Dosch in his laudatio. “It was an outstanding achievement by Albrecht Wagner to take the helm in this stressful situation.” Wagner confirmed that “the biggest challenge was clearly to keep the centre alive with a future that is sustainable.” Today, the present confirms Wagner's foresight. Taking stock, he said: “The pillars on which DESY relied on even more strongly at that time – particle physics, accelerator physics, photon science and astroparticle physics – made a solid foundation for the centre's future.” Under Wagner's leadership, decisions were made for the construction of the European XFEL and the conversion of the PETRA storage ring into PETRA III.

One of Albrecht Wagner's closest collaborators at that time was Jochen Schneider. As head of the Hamburg Synchrotron Radiation Laboratory HASYLAB since 1993 and as Research Director from 2000 onwards, Schneider shaped the strategic expansion of Photon Science at DESY. Above all, however, Helmut Dosch paid tribute to him as “the person who implemented free-electron laser research here at DESY.” In addition to setting the course for PETRA III and the European XFEL, Schneider is also considered the spiritual father of the Center for Free-Electron Laser Science CFEL, which was launched together with the University of Hamburg and the Max Planck Society. About the development in this field in recent years, which he himself helped to initiate, Schneider said: “For me, the pace and scope of laser research is simply breathtaking."

Albrecht Wagner and Jochen Schneider, both of whom turned 80 this year, agreed in the DESY retrospective: “We have set the right course – supported by the great work of all DESY employees and embedded in good international cooperation,” said Wagner. And Schneider added: “Looking back, we have simply achieved an incredible amount.” Congratulations on the Golden Pin of Honour!