Prof. Carlo Rubbia was born in Gorizia on 31st March 1934. He graduated in Physics at Scuola Normale of Pisa. In 1959 he obtained his PhD from Columbia University (USA).
Since 1961 he has been working at CERN (European Organization for Nuclear Research) in Geneva, becoming its Director General from 1989 to 1994.
In early 1983, an international team of more than 100 physicists headed by Carlo Rubbia and known as the UA1 Collaboration, detected the intermediate vector bosons. In 1984 he was awarded the Nobel Prize for Physics for this discovery together with Simon van der Meer.
From 1972 to 1989 Carlo Rubbia has held the Higgins Professorship of Physics at Harvard University. He was the President of Sincrotrone Trieste - Synchrotron Light Radiation Source (1986 -1994), the company in charge of building ELETTRA, one of the first third-generation synchrotron radiation sources in the world, together with Berkeley and Grenoble.
During the 1990s Prof. Rubbia proposed the concept of an energy amplifier (ADS) – a novel and safe way of producing practically unlimited nuclear energy exploiting present-day accelerator technologies from natural thorium and depleted uranium. The energy resources potentially deriving from this technology, which is actively being studied worldwide, will be practically unlimited and non-proliferating.
During his term as President of ENEA, the Italian National Agency for New Technologies, Energy and the Environment (1999-2005), he developed a novel method for concentrating solar power at high temperatures for energy production, known as the Archimedes Project, which is presently being developed by industry for commercial use.
From 2005 to 2009 he was the principal Scientific Adviser of the Spanish Research Centre for Energy, Environment and Technology (CIEMAT), since 2007 he was a member of the high-level Advisory Group on Energy and Climate Change set up by EU's President Barroso. In 2009 he was appointed Special Adviser for Energy to the Secretary General of ECLAC, the United Nations Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean.
From 2010 to 2015 he was the Scientific Director of the Institute for Advanced Sustainability Studies (IASS e.V.) in Potsdam, where he has identified and developed new technological solutions to meet the energy challenges of the future. Key aspects of these activities targeted improving the reliability of renewable energy sources, developing more efficient electric-power transmission technologies and implementing low-carbon uses of fossil fuels. The research activities followed an interdisciplinary approach to energy research, development and support for industrial innovation.
Prof. Rubbia is the spokesman of the ICARUS (Imaging Cosmic And Rare Underground Signals) experiment, a program he initiated in 1977 aimed at studying neutrinos with a new type of detector called Liquid Argon Time Projection Chambers (LAr-TPC), which combines the advantages of bubble chambers and electronic detectors.
He is a member of many academies, such as the Accademia dei Lincei, The Royal Society, The American Academy of Sciences, The Russian Academy of Sciences, The Pontifical Academy of Sciences, The Austrian Academy of Sciences, The Hungarian Academy of Sciences, etc.
He was awarded many honours and prizes and holds 34 honorary degrees.
In August 2013 Carlo Rubbia was appointed Senator for life of the Italian Republic by President Napolitano.
In January 2016 he was awarded the International Scientific and Technological Cooperation Award by the People's Republic of China. The award honors the significant contributions Rubbia has made to China’s scientific development in the field of high-energy physics and promoting cooperation in science and technology between China and Europe.