Prime Minister Muhammad Nawaz Sharif on Saturday said the nation was proud of its brilliant scientists and engineers, who were building the country’s image and bringing the latest technology to Pakistan.
He was talking to a group of Pakistani students and experts here at the CERN, the European Organization for Nuclear Research, along the Franco-Swiss border. This was the first visit of a Pakistani head of government to the top scientific research organization.
The Prime Minister said the nation was proud of its scientific community as they were bringing a good name to the country.
He visited the CMS (Compact Muon S) – the largest particle collider in the world that was part of the 27 km long Large Hadron Collider (LHC) and witnessed the huge 14000 tons heavy outer and inner shields built by the Heavy Mechanical Complex Taxila.
One of the best technologies of the CERN was the invention of the World Wide Web. It also led to the creation of the ‘Grid’ that harnesses the power of computers around the world. Pakistan is also part of the Grid network that allows its scientists analyse data generated at the CERN.
The Prime Minister said that Pakistan considered it a matter of immense pride to have become an Associate Member of CERN last year especially as it was the first non-European country to have achieved this milestone.
“Our Associate Membership of CERN is a recognition of the achievements of our scientists, engineers and technicians,” he added.
He said that Pakistan and CERN had been collaborating since 1994, and had carried out a number of successful projects involving sophisticated technologies and precision engineering.
The membership of Pakistan has opened a new era of cooperation that will strengthen long-term partnership between CERN and the Pakistani scientific community.
The Prime Minister was informed by CERN officials that the membership would allow Pakistani scientists to become members of the CERN staff, participate in CERN’s training and career-development programmes and CERN Council.
It would also allow Pakistani industry to bid for CERN contracts, opening opportunities for industrial collaboration in areas of advanced technology.
Director General of CERN Fabiola Gianotti said Pakistan had a long history of research in elementary particle physics and had produced renowned scientists in this field, including the Nobel laureate Dr. Abdus Salam.
Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif said the nation was proud of him. “He was a great Pakistani, the pride of country who brought good name to Pakistan and we are proud of him.”
Pakistan has supplied equipment since 2003 to support CERN programmes. Pakistan’ Heavy Mechanical Complex-3 (HMC-3) won a CERN award for best industrial partner in 2006. The Prime Minister went around various sections and saw the tunnel that forms part of the 27 km long tunnel.
The Prime Minister’s visit to CERN was a re-affirmation of his government’s strong commitment to promotion of science and technology in Pakistan, Pakistan’s Ambassador to the UN Mission Tehmina Janjua told APP.
Waqar Ahmad, Minister Technical at the Permanent Mission of Pakistan to the IAEA, said membership for Pakistan was a great honour.
He said apart from capacity building, it would open up Pakistan’s private and public sectors to bid for provision of precision equipment for CERN. “It would raise Pakistan’s stature at international scientific scene as provider of precision equipment.”
He said that Pakistan would also gain experience of building Mini Linear Accelerators for radio therapy that could be used at its nuclear medical centers.
The scientists at CERN use the world’s largest and most complex scientific instruments to study the basic constituents of matter – the fundamental particles.
The particles are made to collide together at close to the speed of light. The process gives the physicists clues about how the particles interact, and provides insights into the fundamental laws of nature.
Founded in 1954, the CERN laboratory is located near the Franco-Swiss border near Geneva. It was one of Europe’s first joint ventures and now has 21 member states.
Pakistan became an Associate Member of CERN on July 31 last year.
Pakistan and CERN signed a Co-operation Agreement in1994. The signature of several protocols followed this agreement, and Pakistan contributed to building the CMS and ATLAS experiments. Pakistan contributes today to the ALICE and CMS experiments.
Pakistan is also involved in accelerator developments, making it an important partner for CERN. The LHC and CMS projects were built in collaboration with Pakistani scientists.
At present, its member states are Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Israel, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and the United Kingdom.
Romania is a Candidate for Accession. Serbia is an Associate Member in the pre-stage to Membership. Pakistan and Turkey are Associate Members. India, Japan, the Russian Federation, the United States of America, the European Union, JINR and UNESCO have observer status