Italian physicist Fabiola Gianotti is to head the CERN particle physics research centre that houses the giant LHC “Big Bang” machine.
Her appointment if formalised will make her the first woman to lead a top global scientific institution in the field.
Gianotti should take up the post in January 2016.
Gianotti won attention in 2012 for her leadership role in CERN’s discovery of the long-sought “Higgs boson”.
The post means she and other scientists will continue to look to new findings on the origin and make-up of the universe.