India becomes Associate member of CERN


Ajit Kumar AJIT KUMARWISDOM IAS, New Delhi.

India became an Associate member of CERN on January 16, 2017 with the Indian government completing its internal approval procedures in respect of the agreement it had signed with CERN on November 21, 2016. The name CERN is derived from the acronym for the French "Conseil Européen pour la Recherche Nucléaire", or European Council for Nuclear Research.

On November 21, 2016, Sekhar Basu, Chairman of the Atomic Energy Commission and Secretary of the Department of Atomic Energy (DAE) and Fabiola Gianotti CERN Director General signed an Agreement to admit India to CERN as an Associate member. But India had to “notify CERN of its final approval for the Agreement to enter into force” and become an Associate member.


Advantages to India

As an Associate member India will have full access to all data generated at CERN. As there are many experiments in CERN, there will be plenty of information available. When we were not an Associate member, India could data only from those experiments where we were participating.
As an Associate member, India can participate in all experiments. We may have to pay additional charges for participating in the experiments. We can choose the experiments where India wants to participate.

There are other benefits of becoming an Associate member. Whenever any CERN facilities get upgraded and go through maintenance, it will provide opportunities for Indian industries to participate. “Indian industry will be entitled to bid for CERN contracts, which will allow it to work in areas of advanced technology. So the “Make in India” will get a boost due to CERN,” he said. “India will definitely be more competitive than others.”

Since Indian scientists will become eligible for staff appointments, it will enhance the participation of young scientists and engineers in operation and maintenance of various CERN projects. “Indian scientists and engineers working in CERN will learn how to operate and maintain the facilities. So when they return it will be useful for India.

India has to pay about Rs. 40 crore a year as an Associate member. According to him, it is a small fee compared to the huge scientific and commercial benefits that India will stand to gain.


India and CERN

India has been actively involved in CERN’s scientific activities for over 50 years. “Indian physicists, engineers and technicians have made substantial contributions to the construction of the LHC accelerator and to the ALICE and CMS experiments, as well as to accelerator R&D projects.
In 1991, India and CERN signed a Cooperation Agreement, setting priorities for scientific and technical cooperation. India and CERN have signed several other protocols since then. But India’s involvement in CERN began in the 1960s with researchers from the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research, Mumbai participating in experiments at CERN. In the 1990s scientists from Raja Ramanna Centre for Advanced Technology, Indore too got involved in CERN experiment. Researchers from TIFR, Raja Ramanna Centre for Advanced Technology and other institutes built components for an accelerator (LEP) and detectors (L3, WA93 and WA89). India was granted Observer status to the CERN Council in 2002.

The CERN convention was signed in 1953 by the 12 founding state. Currently, CERN has 22 member states. Besides India, Turkey, Pakistan, Ukraine are Associate members and Serbia and Cyprus are associate members in the pre-stage to membership.


About CERN

At CERN, the European Organization for Nuclear Research, physicists and engineers are probing the fundamental structure of the universe. They use the world's largest and most complex scientific instruments to study the basic constituents of matter – the fundamental particles. The particles are made to collide together at close to the speed of light. The process gives the physicists clues about how the particles interact, and provides insights into the fundamental laws of nature.
The instruments used at CERN are purpose-built particle accelerators and detectors. Accelerators boost beams of particles to high energies before the beams are made to collide with each other or with stationary targets. Detectors observe and record the results of these collisions.

Founded in 1954, the CERN laboratory sits astride the Franco-Swiss border near Geneva. It was one of Europe's first joint ventures and now has 22 member states.

You can find more information about how CERN is governed and organised here.

The name CERN

The name CERN is derived from the acronym for the French "Conseil Européen pour la Recherche Nucléaire", or European Council for Nuclear Research, a provisional body founded in 1952 with the mandate of establishing a world-class fundamental physics research organization in Europe. At that time, pure physics research concentrated on understanding the inside of the atom, hence the word "nuclear".

Today, our understanding of matter goes much deeper than the nucleus, and CERN's main area of research is particle physics – the study of the fundamental constituents of matter and the forces acting between them. Because of this, the laboratory operated by CERN is often referred to as the European Laboratory for Particle Physics.

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