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CERN Council adopts European strategy for particle physics

17.07.2006
At a special meeting in Lisbon today, the CERN Council unanimously adopted a European strategy for particle physics. This is an important step for the field, outlining a leading role for Europe in this increasingly globalised endeavour.

The strategy adopted by the Council today provides for European engagement and leadership in the field. It builds on European strengths at Universities, in national laboratories – frequently of international standing – and at the CERN laboratory.

The President of the Council, Professor Enzo Iarocci, will brief media on the strategy at 12.00 on Monday 17 July at the EIROforum stand in the exhibition area of ESOF 2006, the Euroscience Open Forum being held in Munich.

Professor Gago, Minister of Science and Technology of Portugal, highlighted in his opening address the importance of CERN and of particle physics research for Europe. Professor Gago stated that CERN was a model for scientific cooperation and has achieved a unique success in attracting to Europe scientists and resources from the world at large. CERN is therefore an essential asset for the future strengthening of European scientific and technological impact at the global level.

Created along with the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) in 1954, the Council has been responsible for one of the world’s leading centres for fundamental physics for over 50 years. The CERN laboratory near Geneva, which has evolved into a leading example of successful collaboration among nations, is host to a scientific community of over 6700 users representing 85 nationalities. It has made significant contributions to our understanding of the Universe, brought major contributions to technological innovation in fields as diverse as medical imaging and information technology, and given us the World Wide Web.

Today, the world’s particle physicists are embarking on a new adventure, the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) project, scheduled to start up at the Geneva laboratory in 2007. It will provide a focus for particle physics for many years to come, addressing questions such as what gives matter its mass, what the invisible 96% of the Universe is made of, why nature prefers matter to antimatter and how matter evolved from the first instants of the Universe’s existence.

The LHC is a discovery machine at the high-energy frontier. A full understanding of the Universe’s mysteries, and of the discoveries that will be made, requires a multi-stranded approach, with global coordination. Major new facilities and other frontier projects, such as the International Linear Collider, will require such coordination.

The Council took the initiative to launch the strategy process in 2005, recognising that the LHC is a unique facility for the world’s particle physicists, and considering that this was the right time to address the issue of how European particle physics will engage with other regions of the world to develop the next generation of particle physics facilities.

The Council appointed a representative group of European physicists to define the role that Europe should play in the unfolding adventure of understanding our Universe. This group engaged in a broad consultative process, hearing the voices of European physicists, as well as representatives from the Americas and Asia. Its conclusions were discussed in Council today and unanimously approved.

Enzo Iarocci | alfa
Further information:
http://council-strategygroup.web.cern.ch/council-strategygroup/

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