STAFF REPORT ISB: As a major development towards nuclear technology, Pakistan has formally become Associate Member of the European organisation for nuclear research CERN. It would would not only strengthen the relationship of scientific community in Pakistan with the people at CERN, but would also allow Pakistani scientists to join CERN staff and to participate in CERNs training and career development programmes.
Pakistan and CERN have recently signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to this effect.
Director-General CERN Dr Rolf-Dieter Heuer and Chairman PAEC Dr Ansar Parvez had signed the document in the presence of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif in Islamabad.
Later, addressing the press conference along with Chairman Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission (PAEC) Dr Ansar Parvez, the Director-General CERN said that Pakistan was the first county of South Asia to become Associate Member of CERN.
In his remarks, Ansar Parvez said that it was a significant and historic moment for Pakistan and its scientific community.
“I believe and hope that this formal relationship with the world leading research organisation will act as a catalyst for building a better and stronger scientific base in the country,” he added. An exciting opportunity it would provide to young scientists to interact with the best in the world and develop themselves into productive members of the society, Dr Parvez added.
The DG CERN said Pakistans Associate Membership would not only strengthen the relationship of scientific community in Pakistan with the people at CERN, but would also allow Pakistani scientists to join CERN staff and to participate in CERNs training and career development programmes.
The potential benefits include training of scientists, engineers and students, getting commercial contracts from CERN for local industry, acquiring of old and used equipment from CERN and provision of high profile international science projects.
At CERN, LHC is the largest particle accelerator, where the particles are made to collide together at close to the speed of light. It is 100 meters below Switzerland and France in a 27km circumference tunnel. The process gives the physicists clues about how the particles interact, and provides insight into the fundamental laws of nature.
It is to be mentioned here that CERN has contributed to the discovery of several sub-atomic particles. During July 2012 CERN announced the discovery of the elusive Higgs boson, sometimes also called the god particle, which was detected on several detectors, one of which was made by Pakistan.
Pakistan has been collaborating with CERN since late 1950s through mutual visits and student exchanges. However, in 1994 CERN and Pakistan entered into a formal collaboration. This was followed by the signature of several protocols. Today Pakistan is contributing to CERN experiments like ALICE, ATLAS, CMS, CLIC and LINAC4. In this engineering enterprise, Pakistani scientists, engineers and technologists have played a pivotal role in the construction of LHC detectors and more importantly in the upgrade of the LHC. A team of Pakistani engineers worked day and night for 18 months to bring LHC to its design parameters.
Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission is playing a major role in Pak-CERN collaboration for the last 20 years. Former PAEC chairman Dr lshfaq Ahmad pioneered the collaboration and subsequent chairmen supported the effort. PAEC has built the support structures for CMS, the CMS tracker alignment system, collar shielding for CMS HF calorimeter, YE4 shielding wall for CMS and also various other mechanical components for ATLAS and LHC. Some of the finest engineers of PAEC have worked on the effort. For this purpose PAEC has most modern designing, manufacturing and fabrication capability at HMC-3 and various others facilities.