CERN Accelerating science

In memoriam


Michel Boffard passed away on Tuesday 8 January, in his 79th year, in complete discretion, without warning anyone, tiptoeing as if not to disturb.

His discreet departure contrasts sharply with what many of us have known about him. Rather perceived as a boiling boy, a grouchy character, short-fused and angry about the established order, he has often showed endearing qualities: devoted, showing extraordinary generosity and great intelligence, while constantly questioning things and wielding provocation. However, what his colleagues will remember about him is above all his generous soul.

We only have little information about his career at CERN, but we received a few points of reference.

Having joined CERN to work on the video of the Booster access system, he provided his keen insight into the security and prevention aspects of access systems. He then joined the section of Claude JACOT, on the occasion of all access control activities for accelerators, site surveillance, guards and reception, including audio and video communications for all these activities, being grouped within the Monitoring and Communication (MC) group of the Technical Support (ST) division.

Michel, together with J. BARLOW, was responsible for the communication networks including cameras and intercom systems for access control and site surveillance systems. In addition on his plate were the "Broadband CERN wide" broadcasting networks of information pages for the operation of PS, SPS and LEP accelerators, which were visible on many TV sets throughout the site.

Michel engaged in all these activities with unusual generosity. In 1995, he participated in the development of technical specifications, procurement monitoring and installation of the project to renew audio-video communications for SPS and LEP accelerators.

In 1998, he became responsible for the maintenance work of the secure power supply system, as well as the supply logistics and work execution planning for the equipment of the access systems.

During the last years of his professional activity, he also joined the Staff Association, where he was elected as a staff representative. His desire to give back what he had been given in the difficult moments of his life led him to give his time to colleagues who, during their professional careers, fell into dire times of need or disgrace. He fully associated his role as a delegate with justice and this led him passionately to the repair or compensation of wrongdoings. There again he remained a confusing phenomenon.

After his retirement, he stayed in contact with the Organization, re-engaging in the “Groupement des anciens du CERN” (GAC-EPA) within several commissions -- always this urge to serve! Within the GAC-EPA, he has alternated between permanence duty, monitoring the work of the mutual assistance fund and participating in the work of the Staff Council.

Michel has also been involved in many outside-work activities, where his generosity has made him a celebrity. This is true in volleyball, where he engaged as a player and then as a referee for the Geneva Association, but also in cycling. This is also true of his work as a guide at CERN, where his knowledge of accelerators and his guile in popularizing their technical aspects have done wonders for the public. In each of these activities, he left a special memory. Lately, he had become passionate about Chinese calligraphy and the culture of the Land of the Rising Sun.

Just before passing, Michel was still up and cheerful during a chemotherapy session at the hospital. Michel was really an endearing character!

May our affection, and Peace, be with you, Michel.

Bernard DUCRET