The candidates are: Robert Aymar, director general of the ITER fusion project; Walter Hoogland of NIKHEF in Amsterdam, a former director of research at CERN; Luciano Maiani of the University of Rome, president of the CERN council; and Albert Wagner, director of research at the DESY lab near Hamburg. It is also possible that the current director general, Chris Llewellyn Smith, will remain for a further five years, handing over when the large hadron collider is almost finished in 2004. A decision is due to be made later this month.