To draw Latvia closer to the European Nuclear Research Center (CERN), Riga Technical University (RTU) in cooperation with CERN and the Ministry of Education and Science will organize a major event — CERN Week in Latvia — from 22 to 26 May 2017. During this week, CERN officials and scientists will meet with the administration of RTU, the Minister of Education and Science, Minister of Foreign Affairs, as well as the members of the Parliament to discuss potential membership of Latvia in CERN.
The events organized during this week will be of relevance not only to researchers and students but also to a wide audience — students, teachers, science enthusiasts and basically anyone Latvian citizen — as CERN scientists will deliver popular scientific lectures on CERN activities and research, as well as throughout the week there will be a unique opportunity provided in an interactive exhibition to examine the Large Hadron Collider tunnel, where the Higgs boson was discovered, and to find out the main operation principles of the tunnel. The Latvian entrepreneurs, in their turn, will participate in the roundtable discussion together with CERN officials and discuss the potential cooperation between the representatives of the industry and CERN.
The CERN Week organized in Latvia is a targeted five-year result of RTU as initiating the cooperation with CERN, RTU has been working to not only strengthen the scientific ties between RTU and CERN, but also to contribute to the admission of Latvia as a member of CERN.
In Latvia, the CERN Week will start on Monday, 22 May 2017, at 3 pm, at RTU Design Center (Kipsala Street 6) by unveiling the CERN interactive exhibition, which will enable visitors not only to learn interesting information about the European particle physics research center, but also to examine the interactive Large Hadron Collider tunnel. The Large Hadron Collider is a 27 km long device built beneath the France–Switzerland border, where five years ago scientists managed to prove experimentally the existence of the Higgs boson, which until then was only a theoretical assumption.
At the interactive exhibition, students and other interested parties will be explained the basic physical principles of particles and provided with an opportunity to participate in demonstrations regarding the way how the world’s most influential scientists are trying to discover yet unknown particles and gain a deeper understanding of the origin of the universe. These demonstrations will take place through the elements of the game — by gesticulating, jumping, “playing football” with protons, the visitors of the exhibition will be able to observe how the Higgs particles give mass to all matter. To enable the visitors to test and strengthen the newly acquired knowledge, it will be possible to take an online test. At the exhibition, it will also be possible to look at a real fragment of elementary particle collider.
During the CERN Week, on 22–23 April, at RTU Design Center the CERN scientists will deliver lectures, by providing an opportunity not only to researchers and students, but also to the public to learn about CERN, research conducted by the scientists at CERN, as well as issues being resolved by the scientists. During the lectures, it will also be possible to learn about the Large Hadron Collider and discoveries made with the help of it, as well as to get to know about further research envisaged with this collider.
RTU Vice-Rector for Research, Professor Tālis Juhna says, “This week in May will be a scientific week in Latvia. Notable scientists will arrive in Riga; they will deliver lectures on the basics of high energy physics, and I hope it will be interesting for scientists, students and pupils”.
In turn, on 23 May 2017, the CERN delegation will meet with the Minister of Foreign Affairs Edgars Rinkevičs and then with the members of the Parliament as apart from the educational information about the latest developments in science, the goal of the CERN Week is to establish mutual contacts in order to enable Latvia in the coming years to become, first, an associate member and then a full
member of CERN. RTU and its representative at CERN, Professor Toms Torims have been directing Latvia to this goal since 2012, when RTU signed a cooperation agreement with CERN.
Last October, the Minister of Education and Science Kārlis Šadurskis signed the Scientific and Technical Cooperation Agreement between the government of Latvia and CERN, but the next step would be to meet the requirements necessary for Latvia to become a member of CERN. T. Torims emphasizes that it would open up opportunities not only for Latvian scientists, but also for entrepreneurs who could offer their services to CERN. On 24 May 2017, entrepreneurs and representatives of CERN will participate in a roundtable discussion on the potential cooperation between the Latvian industry and CERN.