Tributes from world
Milla Baldo Ceolin 1924–2011
At the end of November 2011 the particle-physics
community lost one of its most inquisitive, enthusiastic and active members,
when Milla Baldo Ceolin, emeritus professor at the University of Padua,
passed away after several months of disabling illness.
After graduating in Padua in 1952, Milla began her scientific career in
research with balloon-borne nuclear emulsions exposed to cosmic rays in
the high atmosphere. She then took part in a systematic study of the K0–
K0 system produced by the new generation of accelerators in
collaboration with W F Fry of the University of Wisconsin, also measuring
the K1– K2 mass difference. In a subsequent exposure
of nuclear emulsion to a pion beam from the Bevatron at Berkeley, in 1958
Milla and D J Prowse discovered the first antihyperon: the antilambda.
At the beginning of the 1960s she decided to change detection technique
and began experiments with bubble chambers at Argonne, CERN and the Institute
for Theoretical and Experimental Physics (ITEP) in Moscow to investigate
selection rules and conservation laws in the kaon system, with higher
statistics. In the meantime her group in Padua grew steadily, working
in international collaborations.
The main field of her investigations changed to neutrino physics after
the discovery of neutral currents in 1973. The NUE experiment at CERN,
carried out with Helmut Faissner´s group at Aachen, used a set of large
spark chambers to measure, for the first time, both neutrino and antineutrino
elastic-scattering cross-sections off electrons and provided a value for
the Weinberg angle, sin2θW. They also obtained
new results in other neutral-current reactions and coherent processes
on aluminium nuclei. Returning to the bubble-chamber technique, but this
time with liquid deuterium, in a large collaboration (Italy, France, the
Netherlands and Norway) at CERN´s Super Proton Synchrotron, Milla and
colleagues performed systematic investigations on neutrino neutral- and
charged-currents on (quasi) free protons and neutrons.
In 1976 Milla proposed an experiment on νμ → νe
oscillations with a low-energy neutrino beam at CERN. Carried out a few
years later, it found no evidence for oscillations but set important limits
on the oscillation parameters. Her curiosity for quantum mixings then
turned to the search for neutron–antineutron oscillations with cold neutrons
with a novel technique at the Institut Laue Langevin in Grenoble, and
for νμ→ ντ oscillation with a
huge detector in a large collaboration (NOMAD) at CERN, where she led
the Italian contingent. In both cases, the experiments obtained important
upper limits. Having supported from the start the ICARUS detector for
the study of solar neutrinos and of nucleon stability, in recent years
she invested much effort to have the detector working in the Gran Sasso
Laboratory: the experiment is now a reality.
Milla became full professor in 1964 and a few years later was appointed
director of the Padua Section of INFN and then became director of the
Department of Physics. She was a member of several academies and was awarded
the Feltrinelli Prize by the Accademia dei Lincei, as well as the Gold
Medal for Education and Arts, the Gold Medal for Science and the Enrico
Fermi Prize from the Italian Physical Society.
In 1988 she started the world-renowned series of Workshops on Neutrino
Telescopes at the Instituto Veneto di Scienze, Lettere ed Arti in Venice.
These gathered hundreds of scientists to discuss neutrino properties,
astrophysics and cosmology; her quest for perfection was manifest both
in the scientific programmes and in the cultural and social events.
Milla´s students and colleagues have always been stimulated by her
nonconventional approach to scientific, academic and cultural issues.
We are grateful to her and will miss her.
Her friends and colleagues in Padua
DISCREET CHARM OF THE NUCLEAR EMULSION ERA
Milla Baldo Ceolin
Annu. Rev. Nucl.
Part. Sci. 2002. 52:1-21