In memoriam of Patrik Carlsson 

Patrik Carlsson

It is with deep sadness we share the loss of our much-esteemed former colleague and friend Patrik Carlsson. Patrik was an invaluable member of the ESS organisation beginning the early days of ESS Scandinavia in 2002 until 2015.  He held several Director roles and contributed significantly to almost all aspects of establishing and developing ESS with his vision, deep knowledge, and kindness towards all.

Patrik received his PhD in Physics at Chalmers University of Technology in 1999. His choice of focus, neutron scattering, set the course of his career.  

After a few years as a research engineer at a high-tech company (Array Printers) he moved on to the European Spallation Source, ESS, in 2002 to coordinate the efforts of ESS Scandinavia. This was to become the project of a lifetime. In his own words, he “started when ESS was a dark horse proposal by scientists to build a spallation source in Lund.” When he left in 2015, ESS had 13 member countries, more than 40 involved laboratories, and had secured almost all of the €1.8 billion funding needed. All critical components were prototyped, construction licences were in place, and construction was ongoing. 

During his thirteen years at ESS, Patrik held several director positions including Accelerator and Target, Operations, and Environment, Safety & Health. He was a key person who built and led large parts of the early organisation, the collaborations for delivery of the accelerator and target systems, and who drove decision-making on the technical design and prototyping. He played a key role in leading the negotiations and agreements on technical in-kind contributions with European laboratories and the setup of multidisciplinary reviews and advisory committees. Patrik also held a vital role in the campaign for siting ESS in Lund against competing proposals from other parts in Europe, as well as in advocacy for ESS toward societal and governmental bodies in Sweden, Denmark, and Europe.

In 2015, Patrik became Director of the Graphene Centre at Chalmers, where he set up and started R&D and innovation in graphene. In 2017, he became Director of Special Projects at Chalmers Industriteknik, where he among other things was a driving force in the effort to set up the Big Science Sweden organisation, for which he held the position as Co-Director until his passing.

Patrik’s visionary work over the last two decades made critical contributions both to ESS and to accelerating Swedish involvement in developing and constructing new large-scale facilities as well as enhancing deliveries by Swedish industry of advanced technologies to the next generation radioastronomy observatory SKAO (Square Kilometer Array Observatory), ESO (European Southern Observatory), and ITER/Fusion4Energy.

Patrik’s passion for science together with his drive and strategic vision will have a lasting impact on ESS and the neutron community as the facility soon will start commissioning and become ready to support scientific breakthroughs. His personality and charisma which embodied a great sense of strategy, genuine kindness, generosity and high professionalism, evoked a contagious sense of constructiveness no matter what challenges ESS was facing. This way of leading made him well-liked by colleagues and the many external collaborators.

It was a privilege for his colleagues at ESS to work alongside Patrik. He will be greatly missed.

Our thoughts and sincerest condolences go out to Patrik’s family and friends.