Fabiola Gianotti received her Ph.D. in experimental particle physics from the University of Milano in 1989. Since 1994 she has been a research physicist at CERN and since August 2013 an honorary Professor at the University of Edinburgh. She is a corresponding or foreign associate member of the Italian Academy of Sciences, the national Academy of Sciences of the United States, the French Academy of Sciences, the Royal Society London, the Royal Academy of Sciences and the Arts of Barcelona and the Royal Irish Academy.
Dr Gianotti has worked on several CERN experiments, and been involved in detector R&D, construction, software development and data analysis.
From 2009 to 2013, she held the elected position of spokesperson (project leader) for the ATLAS experiment, and had the task of presenting the results on the discovery of the Higgs boson in a seminar at CERN on 4 July 2012.
Gianotti has authored or co-authored over 500 publications in peer-reviewed scientific journals.
She has also been a member of several international scientific committees, including the Scientific Council of the CNRS (France), the Physics Advisory Committee of the Fermilab Laboratory (USA) the Scientific Council of the DESY Laboratory (Germany) and the Scientific Advisory Committee of NIKHEF (Netherlands). She was also a member of the Scientific Advisory Board of the UN Secretary-General.
Gianotti was awarded the honour of “Cavaliere di Gran Croce dell’ordine al merito della Repubblica” in 2014 by the Italian President Giorgio Napolitano. She received the Special Breakthrough Prize in Fundamental Physics Prize (2013), the Enrico Fermi Prize of the Italian Physical Society (2013), the Medal of Honour of the Niels Bohr Institute of Copenhagen (2013) and the Tate Medal of the American Institute of Physics for International Leadership (2019).
She was included among the “Top 100 most inspirational women” by The Guardian newspaper (UK, 2011), ranked 5th in Time magazine’s Personality of the Year (USA, 2012) and included among the “Top 100 most influential women” by Forbes magazine (USA, 2013 and 2017).
On 1st January 2016 she became the first female Director-General of CERN. In 2019, she was renewed for a second term of office to start on 1st January 2021.