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Continuing Latvia’s integration into the European Organisation for Nuclear Research (CERN), from 31 January to 2 February, the CERN delegation will visit Latvia. During the visit, the first meeting of the CERN Baltic Group will be held, in which representatives from the universities of Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia will discuss a joint study programme in particle physics. Over the past year, the initiative on the necessity for Latvia to become a fully-fledged member of CERN has become increasingly important, and this issue is also on the agenda of the Latvian government.
The aim of the CERN visit is to continue the process of Latvia’s accession to CERN. It is actively organised, co-ordinated and managed by Riga Technical University (RTU), which had already concluded a cooperation agreement with CERN in 2012. It should also be mentioned that the two scientists of RTU are currently working at CERN, and several RTU scientist teams are also involved in CERN research, as well as Latvia will participate in the important CERN experiment CMS — The Compact Muon Solenoid — to discover new phenomena in physics.
To become a member of CERN, one of the prerequisites is to establish the study and research platform of high-energy particle physics, which can be accomplished by combining the forces of the three Baltic States. Therefore, on Friday, 2 February, RTU Faculty of Power and Electrical Engineering will hold its first meeting, during which representatives of the leading universities of the three Baltic States and the senior management of CERN will discuss the possibilities for establishing a joint international study programme.
Such a programme is necessary for the students of the Baltic States to acquire the knowledge they will need for cooperation with CERN. It is envisaged that it will be an internationally unique programme, since it is intended to create an interdisciplinary programme by combining fundamental and applied sciences — particle physics with collider technologies.
On the way to CERN in Latvia, at RTU, the High-Energy Particle Physics and Collider Technology Centre has also been established. On 31 January, when the CERN delegation will meet RTU Rector, Academician Leonīds Ribickis, it is planned to sign a contract with the two CERN scientists — Christoph Schaefer and Maurizio Vretenar — who will become the visiting professors of RTU. They will help develop the competence of high-energy particle physics in Latvia, as well as consult the Baltic States during the establishment of this study programme.
The CERN delegation will also meet with the Minister of Education and Science Kārlis Šadurskis, as well as representatives of Riga Stradiņš University, the University of Latvia and Latvian companies.
Lithuania has got better results in the integration of CERN and acquired the status of an Associate Member State, while Estonia and Latvia are still on their way to it. The dialogue between Latvia and CERN has intensified in recent years, and this has happened thanks to RTU active work. RTU believes that Latvia should join CERN as it will provide Latvian scientists with the opportunity to participate in world-wide research.
In the autumn of 2016, K.Šadurskis signed the agreement on scientific and technical cooperation with CERN, while in 2017, activating the cooperation between Latvia and CERN, the CERN Science Week took place in Latvia. During that time, a letter from the Prime Minister of the Republic of Latvia Māris Kučinskis was sent to the CERN delegation, in which he confirmed Latvia’s desire to become a member of CERN. In January this year, at a meeting of the World Economic Forum in Davos with CERN Director-General Fabiola Gianotti M. Kučinskis confirmed that Latvia’s accession to CERN had been on the government’s agenda.
On 17 January 2018, a delegation of Latvian entrepreneurs also visited CERN to make sure that Latvia’s accession to CERN would also promote cooperation between Latvian entrepreneurs and CERN, as to ensure its scientific work CERN would need raw materials that could be supplied by Latvian companies.