Science Bringing Nations Together

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General Introduction

This web site presents the poster exhibition*, "Science Bringing Nations Together", which has been prepared by the European Organisation for Nuclear Research (CERN) in Geneva, Switzerland, and the Joint Institute for Nuclear Research (JINR) in Dubna, Russia. The exhibition demonstrates how individuals and groups from all over the world have worked towards common scientific goals regardless of political differences, often across almost closed borders, and how this has led to mutual understanding and friendship, not only between scientists, but also between nations.

CERN was founded in 1954 and, as one of the world's first international scientific organizations, it became a model for those that followed. Shortly afterwards, in 1956, JINR was established to unify nuclear research in the Soviet Union and other socialist republics. Scientific co-operation and collaboration in particle physics have stimulated understanding among people of many nations; initially within Europe, across the former East-West division, and now on a world-wide scale. Scientific collaboration was a precious communication channel throughout the period of the Cold War. Particle physics is a natural pioneer for global scientific collaboration and very often the needs of large-scale basic research required the involvement of politicians at the highest level, lowering barriers and leading to mutual understanding and political collaboration.

Today, CERN is building a new accelerator, the Large Hadron Collider (LHC), in order to continue the search for a deeper understanding of the particles that constitute matter, and the fundamental forces that act on those particles. The LHC is due to begin operations in 2005 and physicists from more and more countries all over the world are preparing sophisticated equipment for a new generation of complex scientific experiments at the LHC. Large groups of physicists and engineers from Russia, from other countries of the Former Soviet Union and from JINR, Dubna, are involved in these efforts.

Two organizations that receive European Union support, namely INTAS and ISTC, are playing an important role in reinforcing these collaborations.
Technology transfer is seen by society at large as an increasingly important aspect of the value of basic science. In the case of CERN the economic impact of the development of the World Wide Web was clearly enormous, and the huge volume of data that will be generated by the LHC experiments and will have to be analysed on a world-wide basis has led to the development of a new paradigm for collaborative distributed computing - the Grid. It is likely that Grid computing will also have a dramatic economic impact far beyond its scientific origins. Several technologies originally developed for detecting particles, such as those based on specialised crystals, on positron emission tomography, and on silicon photon detectors, have also found application in medical instrumentation.

Particle physics is at the cutting edge of fundamental science and technology and attracts our standing  young people from all over the world. Their experience of working together is helping  to build a brighter future.

CERN & JINR, August 2000


* Parts of the exhibition have already been shown at CERN (December 1996), at the Physics Department of the University of Oslo (August/September 1997), at UNESCO (October 1998) and at the United Nations in Geneva (May 1999).

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