One of eight experts who drew up the plans for CERN, Bakker later directed the synchrocylcotron design group.
In 1951, Cornelis Jan Bakker (1904–1960, Dutch) was invited by Professor Auger (Director of UNESCO's Department of Natural Sciences, Paris) to be one of the eight experts assigned to drawing up plans for the development of CERN. In 1952, he became Director of the group responsible for the designing and construction of the CERN Synchrocyclotron (SC), ultimately becoming a member of the Directorate as the Director of SC Division on a part-time basis.
He succeded Felix Bloch in September 1955, and was Director-General of CERN until April 1960, when he was killed in a plane accident. John Bertram Adams was appointed as acting Director-General for the following 15 months.