Luciano Maiani

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Professor Luciano Maiani, president of the CERN Council from January 1997 until December 1997, and director general of the organisation from 1 January 1999

Luciano Maiani (born 16 July 1941,[1] in Rome) is a Sammarinese physicist best known for his prediction of the charm quark with Sheldon Glashow and John Iliopoulos (the "GIM mechanism").[2]

Academic history[edit]

In 1964 Luciano Maiani received his degree in physics and he became a research associate at the Istituto Superiore di Sanità in Italy.[3] During that same year he collaborated with Raoul Gatto's theoretical physics group at the University of Florence.[3] He crossed the Atlantic in 1969 to do a post-doctoral fellowship at Harvard's Lyman Laboratory of Physics.[3] In 1976 Maiani became a professor of theoretical physics at the University of Rome,[3] however he traveled widely during this period, holding visiting professorships at the Ecole Normale Supérieure of Paris (1977)[3] and CERN (1979–1980 and 1985–1986).[3] Maiani also took an interest in the direction of particle physics research start on CERN's Scientific Policy Committee from 1984 to 1991.[3] Then, in 1993, he became president of Italy's Istituto Nazionale di Fisica Nucleare (INFN).[3] From 1993 to 1996 Maiani served as a scientific delegate in CERN council and then as that council's president in 1997.[3] Thereafter he became director general of CERN, serving from 1 January 1999[4] through the end of 2003.[5] From 1995 to 1997 Maiani chaired the Italian Comitato Tecnico Scientifico, Fondo Ricerca Applicata. At the end of 2007 he was proposed as president of Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche, but his nomination was suspended temporally after he signed a letter criticizing the rector of 'La Sapienza' University in Rome, who invited Pope Benedict XVI to give a lectio magistralis in 2008.[6] However he became the President of CNR since 2008.

Luciano Maiani has authored over 100 scientific publications on the theory of elementary particles often with several co-authors. In 1970 he predicted the charmed quark in a paper with Glashow and Iliopoulos which was later discovered at SLAC and Brookhaven in 1974 and led to a Nobel Prize in Physics for the discoverers. Working with Guido Altarelli in 1974 they explained that the observed octet enhancement in weak non-leptonic decays was due to a leading gluon exchange effect in quantum chromodynamics. They later extended this effect to describe the weak non-leptonic decays of charm and bottom quarks as well and also produced a parton model description of heavy flavor weak decays. In 1976 Maiani analyzed the CP violation in the six-quark theory and predicted the very small electric dipole moment of the neutron. In the 1980s he started using the numerical simulation of lattice QCD and this led to the first prediction of the decay constant of pseudoscalar charmed mesons and of B mesons. A proponent of supersymmetry, Maiani once said that the search for it was "primary goal of modern particle physics".[7] He has not confined his interest to the theoretical side of physics either, with involvement in ALPI, EUROBALL, DAFNE, VIRGO and the LHC.

As of September 2020, he is a member of the Italian Aspen Institute.[8]


See also[edit]

External links[edit]


  1. ^ "Archives of Luciano Maiani (1941-), Director-General of CERN from 1999 to 2003". CERN. Archived from the original on November 1, 2014. Retrieved 1 September 2015.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: unfit URL (link)
  2. ^ Glashow, S. L.; Iliopoulos, J.; Maiani, L. (1970). "Weak Interactions with Lepton-Hadron Symmetry". Physical Review D. 2 (7): 1285–1292. Bibcode:1970PhRvD...2.1285G. doi:10.1103/PhysRevD.2.1285.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i "Professor Luciano Maiani is new President of CERN Council". CERN. Archived from the original on August 10, 2015. Retrieved 1 September 2015.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: unfit URL (link)
  4. ^ "Professor Luciano Maiani chosen as next Director General of CERN". CERN. Archived from the original on August 10, 2015. Retrieved 1 September 2015.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: unfit URL (link)
  5. ^ "CERN Council looks to bright future". CERN. Archived from the original on August 10, 2015. Retrieved 1 September 2015.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: unfit URL (link)
  6. ^ "Aprile Online; Gathering Information".
  7. ^ "CERN Press Release – Professor Luciano Maiani is chosen as next Director General of CERN". November 16, 2010. Archived from the original on 2010-11-16.
  8. ^ executive Committee Archived 2010-10-09 at the Wayback Machine,
  9. ^ a b c d "Curriculum vitae del Prof. LUCIANO MAIANI". Retrieved 4 November 2023.
  10. ^ "J. J. Sakurai Prize for Theoretical Particle Physics".
  11. ^ "The Dirac Medal | ICTP".
Preceded by CERN Director General
1999 – 2003
Succeeded by