Austria and CERN celebrate 60 years

12 November 2019
Manfred Krammer, Jochen Schieck and Fabiola Gianotti

Since joining in 1959, Austria has never stopped contributing to CERN. Associated in bygone days with the UA1 experiment at the SPS, where the W and Z bosons were discovered, and later with LEP’s DELPHI experiment, which helped to put the Standard Model on a solid footing, today hundreds of Austrian scientists contribute to CERN’s experimental programme, and its institutes participate in ALICE, ATLAS, CMS and in experiments at the Antiproton Decelerator. Two of the laboratory’s directors, Willibald Jentschke and Victor Frederick Weisskopf, were born in Austria.

To celebrate the 60th anniversary of Austria’s membership, the public were invited to “Meet the Universe” during a series of exhibitions and public events from 5–12 September, organised by the Institute of High Energy Physics (HEPHY) of the Austrian Academy of Sciences. CERN Director-General Fabiola Gianotti opened proceedings by discussing the role of particle colliders as tools for exploration. The following day, 2017 Nobel Prize winner Barry Barish presented his vision for gravitational-wave detectors and the dawn of multi-messenger astronomy. The programme continued with public lectures by Jon Butterworth of University College London, presenting the various experimental paths that could reveal hints for new physics, and Christoph Schwanda of HEPHY discussing the matter–antimatter asymmetry in the universe.

“We’d like to celebrate this important anniversary and continue to contribute to this long-term endeavour together with the other countries that participate in CERN’s research programme,” said Manfred Krammer, both of HEPHY and head of CERN’s experimental physics department.

The long-standing relationship with CERN has offered broad benefits to the Austrian scientific community, a noticeable example being the Vienna Conference on Instrumentation, and since 1993 the Austrian doctoral programme, which has now trained more than 200 participants, has been fully integrated with CERN’s PhD programme. Today, Austria’s collaboration with CERN extends far beyond particle physics. Business incubation centres were launched in Austria in 2015, and the MedAustron advanced hadron-therapy centre (CERN Courier September/October 2019 p10), which was developed in collaboration with CERN, is among the world’s leading medical research facilities.

“CERN is the place to push the frontiers, and scientists from Austria will contribute to make the next steps towards the unknown,” said HEPHY director Jochen Schieck.

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