Bjørn Wiik

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Bjørn Wiik
Born (1937-02-17)17 February 1937
Bruvik, Norway
Died 26 February 1999(1999-02-26) (aged 62)
Hamburg, Germany
Scientific career
Fields Particle physics
Institutions Stanford Linear Accelerator Center
German Electron Synchrotron (DESY)

Bjørn Håvard Wiik (born 17 February 1937 in Bruvik, Norway; died 26 February 1999 in Hamburg, Germany) was a Norwegian elementary particle physicist, noted for his role on the experiment that produced the first experimental evidence for gluons and for his influential role on later accelerator projects.[1] Wiik was director of DESY, in Hamburg, Germany, from 1993 until his death.[2]


Bjørn Wiik lived in his home town Bruvik until he began his physics studies at Germany's Technical University of Darmstadt. In 1965, he got his doctorate degree there. Two years later he began working at the Stanford Linear Accelerator Center in Menlo Park, California. In 1972, Wiik returned to Germany, to the German Electron Synchrotron (DESY) in Hamburg where, four years later, he was appointed lead scientist.

In 1978, Wiik and his collaborators began using DESY's newly commissioned PETRA electron–positron storage ring to look for hard-gluon bremsstrahlung events that would provide experimental support for the existence and role of gluons in mediating strong interactions among quarks. Wiik and his team soon observed and reported a type of event never described before: three particle-jets whose momenta lay in a plane. These results, widely believed to represent the after-effects of two quarks plus a gluon, were soon confirmed by many other groups. In 1995, the European Physical Society awarded its Prize for High Energy and Particle Physics to four physicists representing the TASSO collaboration (Paul Söding, Bjørn Wiik, Günter Wolf, and Sau Lan Wu) for demonstrating the existence of the gluon.[3]

Already during his stay at SLAC, Wiik had proposed a new type of particle accelerator, which would be based on colliding a beam of protons with a beam of electrons. In 1980, this idea took concrete form with the creation at DESY of the hadron-electron ring facility HERA). Wiik was also responsible for proposing and overseeing the implementation of a superconducting linear accelerator for Tera-electronvolt energies, TESLA.[4]

Wiik was chairman of the Super Proton Synchrotron Experiments Committee (SPSC) at CERN from 1979-80. [5]


  1. ^ Wagner, Albrecht (1999). "Bjørn Wiik". Physics Today. 52 (7): 69–70. Bibcode:1999PhT....52g..69W. doi:10.1063/1.2802806. ISSN 0031-9228. 
  2. ^ "DESY director, Bjorn Wiik, dies". Physics World. February 26, 1999. Retrieved August 31, 2017. 
  3. ^ "Twenty-five years of gluons", CERN Courier, November 12, 2004. Retrieved on 2008-05-28.
  4. ^ "DESY mourns for Prof. Dr. Bjørn H. Wiik" (Press release). DESY. February 27, 1999. Retrieved 2017-08-31. 
  5. ^ "Super Proton Synchrotron Committee (SPSC) - 1st Period, 1973 - 1990". CERN Archives. Retrieved August 31, 2017. 

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