Efforts of Riga Technical University (RTU) to bring Latvia closer to the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) will give real results step by step – the Minister of Foreign Affairs Edgars Rinkēvičs during his visit in Geneva and meeting with officials of CERN attested Latvia’s interest to develop closer cooperation with CERN in order to promote cooperation between Latvian scientists, students, pupils, teachers and companies with the European nuclear research center. Opinion of the Minister of Foreign Affairs is very significant as the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in particular is responsible for Latvia’s participation in international organizations. RTU Professor and Latvia’s representative at CERN Toms Torims predicts that in favorable conditions Latvia could become a member of CERN within the next five years.
During his visit at CERN, E. Rinkēvičs met authorities of the European Organization for Nuclear Research – CERN Director for International Relations Charlotte Warakaulle and Advisor of CERN for Non-Member States and International Relations Christoph Schäfer. The Minister stated that cooperation between CERN and Latvia would contribute to the development of national economy of Latvia because it would promote participation of Latvian researchers in CERN projects, as well as provide an opportunity for companies operating in different industries, such as telecommunication, mechanical engineering and information technologies, to produce and supply their products to CERN, which is one of the main buyers of engineering and technical services in Europe.
«Minister’s visit was successful as Latvia demonstrated its readiness to develop close cooperation with CERN. It should be noted that the Minister was given the opportunity to personally get acquainted with CERN and have an idea of how globally significant research and discoveries are made at this center of nuclear research every day», said T. Torims. E. Rinkēvičs and Latvian delegation were also provided with an opportunity to observe technological equipment that is well known in Latvia – the Large Hadron Collider with which several years ago Higgs boson was discovered. Already for 60 years, CERN has been the main nuclear research center in the world, which has made advanced discoveries that influence global development, for example, the world wide web was discovered at CERN.
Until now, Latvia has not cooperated with CERN on the state level. However, it should be noted that already for five years RTU has been cooperating with the European Organization for Nuclear Research by participating in joint research projects. On 31 October 2016, Rector of Riga Technical University (RTU) Academician Leonids Ribickis and the Minister of Education and Science Kārlis Šadurskis attended the meeting where the Minister signed the Scientific and Technical Cooperation Agreement between the government of Latvia and the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) in Geneva, Switzerland. The agreement signed owing to RTU and T. Torims’s efforts allows Latvian scientists to participate in CERN research projects.
The cooperation between RTU and CERN has become more intensive – a joint international project has been launched, developing technologies and materials for new colliders. So far, RTU scientists and Doctoral students have regularly visited the CERN, while the CERN scientists have delivered guest lectures at RTU. Thanks to RTU financial support, Latvian physics teachers have visited the CERN this summer and gained valuable knowledge about nuclear physics, which could be later used in teaching activities. CERN was also attended by pupils of RTU Engineering High School. However, since January 2017 RTU has been represented at CERN by T. Torims who could become a representative of the Ministry of Education and Science at this center. His task is to promote Latvia to become an associate member state and later – a member state of CERN.