India is now an associate member of CERN, the European particle physics research organization. Back in 1991, India has signed a cooperation agreement with CERN and even before then, Indian physicists have been actively participating in the work that was carried out there. Indian physicists have been a part of CERN since the 1960s. During the construction of the LHC or the Large Hadron Collider, India not only took numerous incentives and performed experiments, but also established the LHC Computing Grid in Kolkata and Mumbai. CERN Council granted India an Observer status in 2002.
Sekhar Basu, Chairman of Atomic Energy Commission and Secretary of Department of Atomic Energy (DAE), and CERN Director General Dr Fabiola Gianotti at the DAE’s office here in India signed the agreement. Till September, India had the ‘Observer’ status and Geneva now considered upgrading India’s position.
A Noteworthy Upgrade
Being an associate member will allow India to take part in CERN council meetings and will also make Indian scientists eligible for staff appointment. Also, the Indian industry will be able to bid for CERN Contracts, which in turn will open opportunities for industrial collaboration in areas of advanced technology.
Gianotti said, “There are three major activities going on in our laboratory — accelerators, detectors and computing. Indian scientist fraternity is good at all the three areas; hence we have taken decision to upgrade the status.”
Moreover, India can also contribute a certain amount of money for research activities. As said by Gianotti, the amount that the Indian Government will contribute will amount to 11.5 million Swiss frank.
The membership comes in a time where there was some dissent among the Indian scientific community about the CERN membership. Pakistan was already an associate member since 2014, and India’s membership is considered to have been delayed. Indian scientists have made significant contribution towards the Compact Muon Solenoid or CMS which is one of the two largest experiments that have led to the discovery of the Higg’s Boson.
Source: First Post