Federal Cross of Merit for Siegfried Bethke

The Max Planck Institute for Physics (MPP) congratulates Siegfried Bethke. The long-time director of the High Energy Physics Department is receiving a high honor: He is being awarded the Cross of Merit on Ribbon of the Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany, also known as the "Bundesverdienstkreuz” (Federal Cross of Merit) for short.

Prof. Dr. Siegfried Bethke, Director at the Max Planck Institute for Physics (Photo: Axel Griesch/MPP)

Prof. Dr. Siegfried Bethke, Director at the Max Planck Institute for Physics (Photo: Axel Griesch/MPP)

With this award, the German state, represented by the Germany’s President Walter Steinmeier, thanks Siegfried Bethke for his many years of outstanding commitment in the field of basic research in physics. For many years, Siegfried Bethke acted as a mediator between science and politics, using his outstanding expertise, reputation and worldwide networking to represent the positions of the German state in international particle physics. 

Special mention in the laudation is made of his honorary achievements as Germany's scientific delegate to the CERN Council - a position he held from 2009 to 2020. From 2012 to 2020, he was also a member of the European Strategy Group on the CERN Council. 

The award of the Federal Cross of Merit coincides with Siegfried Bethke's farewell from the MPP. He will retire at the end of 2022. Siegfried Bethke had been a scientific member of the institute since 1999. From 2000 to 2006, he served as executive director. 

With his participation in the ATLAS experiment, Siegfried Bethke had a significant impact on the research activities at the institute. The MPP was a pioneer and driver for the ATLAS project, which achieved its most visible success with the discovery of the Higgs boson in 2012. Today, the MPP remains integral to the upgrade of the experiment. 

"We are very happy for our colleague and congratulate him on this distinct award," says Dieter Lüst, executive director at MPP. "The award recognizes his eminent role in modern particle physics. We also sincerely thank Siegfried Bethke for his scientific achievements and his extremely successful tenure as director - and wish him all the very best for his retirement!"