In this interview during the opening ceremony of IYBSSD, Ursula Bassler, President of the CERN Council (2019-2021), explained that the goal of any kind of fundamental research is to be disruptive, so as to generate breakthroughs.
Science and CERN
The current war really shakes us in our deepest convictions, and reminds us that science must be international, must be neutral and must allow everyone to collaborate.
CERN is a great symbol for fundamental science, for fundamental physics, but also concerned by the questions of sustainable development in all its aspects as well as concerns for the environment, as well as open access for publications, as well as diversity in a field that was not necessarily known for this.
What links can you make between your research and sustainable development?
CERN has always had in its DNA the fact that people from all over the world work together with a common goal.
And I think that this is really an example of what sustainable development should be, i.e. that we all unite to achieve a common goal. In addition, of course, we do basic research. The goal of fundamental research is to be disruptive, to generate breakthroughs. We don’t know what these breakthroughs can bring us in terms of technological development, but if we don’t do this research, if we don’t increase our understanding of the fundamental processes in the world, in the universe, these breakthroughs won’t happen.
What is your dearest wish for this coming year?
At the moment, the best thing that could happen is that the political situation in the world, especially the war but also the pandemics, do not prevent us from continuing to believe that international collaboration is the way to solve the global problems of humanity.
The pandemic has shown us that scientific collaboration as a whole can make rapid progress in combating such an event. The current war really shakes us to our core beliefs and reminds us that science must be international, must be neutral, and must allow everyone to collaborate towards goals of sustainable development, towards goals that are common in human culture.