Latvia considers the European Nuclear Research Centre (CERN) an important partner in raising scientific and technical capacity and transferring innovations from science to production, as the country can make its own contribution to a range of projects of this organisation. On Wednesday, 20 September, the Prime Minister of the Republic of Latvia Māris Kučinskis acknowledged this fact during his visit to CERN. Visit of the Head of Government to CERN is a result of the five years of targeted work of RTU since, starting cooperation with CERN, RTU has committed itself to promoting Latvia’s accession to this research centre, which has been the main centre of investigation, innovation and scientific discovery in particle physics in the world for already 60 years.
During his visit, M. Kučinskis met the Director General of CERN Fabiola Gianotti to discuss cooperation opportunities between Latvia and CERN, as well as became acquainted with the experiments and scientific achievements made by CERN. Minister of Education and Science Kārlis Šadurskis and RTU Vice-Rector for Strategic Development Artūrs Zeps also visited CERN.
RTU has been successfully cooperating with CERN within several scientific projects since 2012, when the mutual cooperation agreement was concluded. The agreement between RTU and CERN is in some ways a unique document as the usual practice shows that CERN concludes cooperation agreements only with countries. For already five years, RTU scientists and doctoral students have been making study visits to CERN on the basis of this agreement. Pupils of RTU Engineering High School have already visited the centre, and several young scientists of RTU have recently carried out their research at CERN.
The team of RTU scientists also participates in the international CERN project to develop technologies and materials for the Large Hadron Collider that is the world’s largest and most sophisticated scientific machine by means of which the Higgs boson was discovered. The Collider needs to be improved; therefore, 40 scientists from 18 countries will search for new solutions and concepts for its operation. In May this year, the CERN Science Week was successfully held in Latvia, introducing the population of Latvia to CERN.
The state, encouraged by RTU, has taken steps closer to CERN – a number of high-level public officials have visited CERN and get acquainted with the research centre. Latvia sees its potential to participate in computing and IT research for the CERN data centre and experimental data processing. In turn, the Faculty of Physics and Mathematics of the University of Latvia is interested in improving the fundamental physics studies and developing high energy theoretical courses in cooperation with CERN.
Founded in 1954, CERN is the centre of the most advanced discoveries that have an impact on global development. Exactly at CERN, the Internet was invented and a few years ago the Higgs boson was discovered using the Great Hadron Collider.