Passing of Henri Desportes
October 20, 2017 (PO60). It is with great sadness that we announce the death of Henri Desportes (aged 84) on the 24th of September in his village of Gif sur Yvette. Henri Desportes was the head of the CEA Saclay Department STCM until his retirement in the mid-90s.
Since the 60s Henri Desportes was a pioneer of Applied Superconductivity for Physics experiments and accelerators. He rapidly became an internationally recognized expert for his role in the development of numerous accelerator and detector magnet systems for high energy physics.
In particular, he contributed to the creation of the first superconducting magnets for polarized targets (HERA, installed at CERN and then in Protvino), the 15-foot bubble chamber at the Argonne National Laboratory, the magnet of the CERN hybrid spectrometer bubble chamber in 1972, the first thin-walled solenoid, CELLO, in 1978 at DESY, the ALEPH solenoid for LEP at CERN in 1986, and finally should be emphasized his primordial participation in the genesis and the design of the large magnets of the CMS and ATLAS detectors for the LHC collider at CERN.
Henri Desportes supervised numerous works at Saclay on the development of innovative superconducting magnets (solenoids, dipoles, quadrupoles, etc.), with a wide range of scientific, technical and medical applications. He was the main initiator of new techniques using helium indirect cooling, the stabilization of superconductor by aluminum co-extrusion and externally supported coils.
Henri Desportes worked on all these subjects with some great names in physics. It is partly thanks to him that 'Saclay', as international physicists say, has been involved in most of the magnets for large detectors built in Europe since the early 1970s.
For this work he received, in 2002, a prestigious IEEE Council on Superconductivity Award "for Continuing and Significant Contributions in the Field of Applied Superconductivity".
We will remember his courtesy, his humor and his unfailing involvement in these flagship projects that have contributed greatly to Physics experiments and to several fundamental discoveries.
It is to his family that we turn today to offer our support.