26May2019

India readies for big bang role at Cern

India could soon play a more active role in the landmark big bang experiment going on at Cern in Switzerland. The department of atomic energy has applied for an associate membership that will allow Indian scientists to be employed at the project site and country’s private sector to supply equipment and data.

So far, India’s status has just been that of an observer country, allowing only academic and research institutions to take part in the project that seeks to replicate the creation of the universe through the collision of high-energy proton beams.

Announcing this at a convention titled “Frontiers of Science” in Kolkata on Wednesday, Rudigor Voss, incharge of international relations at CERN, said India could play a bigger role once they receive the membership.

“It could be a significant step for you. Associate membership will throw open opportunities for employment at Cern that will pave the way for a greater contribution on the part of Indian scientists. Also, the private sector could chip in once that happens,” said Voss.

Scientists from the Saha Institute of Nuclear Physics ( SINP) and the Variable Energy Cyclotrone Centre ( VECC) in Kolkata have been actively involved in the experiment over the last 10 years. A photon multiplicity detector (PMD) and a muon arm created by scientists from these institutions for the experiment are already in use. These two machines, city scientists believe, have already put Kolkata on the global science map.

“The membership will be a major impetus for science in India. Our scientists have been doing a great job there and they deserve to be a given a more permanent and prominent role,” said veteran scientist Bikash Sinha.

The membership process, Voss explained, is still at an early stage. “To be an associate member, India must pay a fee of 9 million Swiss Francs or `35 crore. This is just 10% of the fee a country needs to pay to be a full member,” said Voss. Cern has 20 member states. All of them are European countries.

Apart from providing key instruments, Kolkata is also a part of the grid computing system developed for the experiment. It is a tier 2 centre along with Mumbai that has access to the huge volume of data being generated at the project site. It is the analysis of this data that forms the central part of the experiment.

“That apart, India has also provided a very important software that helps to monitor performance at Cern. We expect India to play an even more meaningful role once they acquire an associate membership,” said Voss.

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2 Responses to "India readies for big bang role at Cern"

  1. Anonymous says:

    Thanks Thanks for all this good information!

  2. Anonymous says:

    Interesting piece.

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