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India Joins CERN as an Associate Member
Dec 01, 2016

India recently became an associate member of the European Organisation for Nuclear Research (CERN), the world's largest nuclear and particle physics labaratory. The agreement was signed by Sekhar Basu, Chairman of Atomic Energy Commission and Secretary of Department of Atomic Energy (DAE), and CERN Director General Dr Fabiola.

India’s Participation

  • Last year, the Union Cabinet approved the proposal for India officially entering the Geneva-based body, following which the CERN Council accepted India as an associate member.
  • India had 'observer' status till September this year, when the CERN Council adopted a resolution upgrading its position.
  • There are three major activities going on in CERN laboratory—accelerators, detectors and computing. 
  • Becoming associate member of CERN will enhance participation of young Indian scientists and engineers in various CERN projects.
  • After becoming a associate member, India also has to contribute a certain amount of money for research activities. This would involve annual contribution of 11.5 million Swiss Frank from Indian government to CERN.
  • Participation of Indian scientists in CERN dates back to the early 1960s. In 1991, the DAE (Department of Atomic Energy) had signed a formal agreement with CERN, which continues till today.
  • In 2003, India was awarded the Observer status of CERN, and subsequently invited to join CERN as an associate member.
  • In recent years, Indian scientists have been involved in several pioneering activities at CERN. India has made significant contributions to the construction of the Large Hadron Collider (LHC), in the areas of design, development and supply of hardware accelerator components.
  • Indian scientists have also played a significant role in the Compact Muon Solenoid (CMS) experiments, which is one of the two large experiments that have led to the discovery of the Higgs Boson and have been named a part of the historic discovery.

What is CERN?

  • CERN began in the 1950s as the European Organization for Nuclear Research. 
  • Today it is also known as the European Laboratory for Particle Physics. 
  • It is one of the world's most prestigious research centres. 
  • Its business is fundamental physics—finding out what makes our Universe work, where it came from and where it is going. 
  • At CERN, some of the world's biggest and most complex machines are used to study nature's tiniest building blocks, the fundamental particles. 
  • By colliding these minute particles of matter physicists unravel the basic laws of nature.
  • The organisation is the world's largest nuclear and particle physics laboratory, where scientists and engineers are probing the fundamental structure of the Universe using the most sophisticated scientific instruments and advanced computing systems.
  • Presently CERN has 22 member states, four associate member states, and the observer status is given to four states and three International Organisations.


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