President, Les Trois Platanes
Areas: Authoring and Publishing, Computational Physics, Physics, Software Development
Bruno Autin started his professional life in the Laboratoire de Recherches Générales de la Compagnie Française Thomson Houston, where he studied the amplification of acoustic microwaves in cadmium sulfide. He strove to replace classical traveling wave tubes by tiny crystals, the scaling factor being the ratio between sound and light velocities. In 1967, he began working at the European Center for Nuclear Research (CERN), where his research turned quickly towards subnuclear physics with the development of very-high-energy accelerators. Bruno started with the first proton collider, the Intersection Storage Rings (ISR), and became introduced to the design and operation of the magnetic systems of accelerators and colliders. The basic theory had been established by Ernest Courant, but matching the architecture of colliders to particle detectors was largely a process of trial and error depending on numerical computations. Finding this to be unsatisfactory, he started testing symbolic languages. The first achievement was the shape of the CERN antiproton source calculated with Veltman’s Schoonschip. The saga of the antiprotons continued both at CERN and at Fermilab. Then, during a sabbatical year at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, where he worked on the design of the Advanced Synchrotron Light Source, he tested the first release of Mathematica, which was packed with the NeXT computer. Having symbolics, numerics, graphics and the notebook interface convinced him to build two packages: Geometrica for geometry and BeamOptics for the investigation of optical systems adapted to projects such as beam emittance optimization for the Large Hadron Collider (LHC), muon colliders, neutrino factories and medical synchrotrons. Now retired from CERN, he follows the progress of particle physics and writes particle accelerator documentation for Wolfram Research.