The science and the technologies developped at CERN to study elementary particles are widely contributiong to advance the Sustainable Development Goals, through cooperation and transfer
CERN, the European Organization for Nuclear Research, is a global leader in the field of particle physics and is located on the border of France and Switzerland, near Geneva. Its primary mission is to unravel the mysteries of the universe by studying the fundamental particles and laws that govern it. CERN operates on four pillars: research, collaboration, technology and innovation, and also on education and training.
The heart of CERN’s research is the Large Hadron Collider (LHC), a 27-kilometer underground tunnel with superconducting magnets that accelerate particles to nearly the speed of light. These particles collide in beams, and four massive detectors, CMS, ALICE, ATLAS, and LHCb, record the resulting collisions. These detectors function as colossal 3D cameras, measuring the energy, direction, and charge of new particles created in these collisions. They capture a staggering 40 million pictures per second, with only thousands being deemed useful and stored in CERN’s data centers. CERN’s data, which amounts to about 1,000 petabytes, is distributed worldwide through the Worldwide Large Hadron Collider Computing Grid (WLCG).
Advancing Scientific knowledge and Innovation
CERN’s importance lies not only in advancing scientific knowledge but also in fostering innovation. The organization actively transfers its technology and expertise to industry and society. This includes the establishment of business incubation centers in member states to support technology startups.
CERN’s engagement extends to international organizations and the pursuit of sustainable development goals (SDGs). It supports seven of the 17 UN SDGs, including gender equality, good health and wellbeing, and quality education. For example, CERN’s technological advancements find applications in the medical sector, such as particle accelerators for cancer treatment and imaging technology for medical diagnosis.
Energy and Cultural Heritage
CERN also contributes to the goal of affordable and clean energy by developing technologies that enhance energy transmission efficiency. Partnerships with companies like Airbus explore the use of superconducting technologies for low-emission aircraft.
In the realm of art and history, CERN’s innovations have led to the creation of devices like Machina, a portable accelerator for non-destructive analysis of historical artifacts. The Czech startup Insight ART utilizes CERN’s time-pix detector for advanced X-ray analysis of artwork, even identifying the origin of masterpieces.
Peace and Education
CERN’s commitment to peace, justice, and strong institutions is evident in its role as a neutral ground for scientists from over 110 nationalities to collaborate, transcending political and religious boundaries. All CERN’s work is made freely accessible, promoting open science and open data.
Education is fundamental to CERN’s mission, with thousands of students and teachers visiting the organization each year. CERN’s educational efforts extend beyond its campus, with programs like the CERN School of Computing, which has trained thousands of students globally.
Through partnerships with UN organizations, CERN amplifies its impact on society. UNOSAT, hosted at CERN since 2001, uses satellite imagery analysis to support humanitarian efforts. Additionally, CERN’s initiative to refurbish and donate used equipment to universities and organizations has led to the establishment of data centers, like the one in Lebanon, promoting scientific discovery and innovation.
In conclusion, CERN’s work transcends the boundaries of particle physics. It exemplifies collaborative, open science, and its technological innovations have far-reaching applications in fields such as healthcare, energy, art, and education. Moreover, CERN’s commitment to global cooperation and its contributions to the UN SDGs make it a beacon of international collaboration and scientific advancement.