At the beginning of this year, Lithuania became an Associate Member State of the European Organisation for Nuclear Research (CERN).
Lithuania will now be able to send representatives to the CERN Council and its committees’ meetings. CERN Council is the highest authority of this scientific research organisation: it controls CERN’s activities in scientific, technical and administrative matters. The Council approves strategic programs, adopts the budgets, foresees yearly goals and ensures that they are achieved.
Three Vilnius University (VU) representatives were present at the first CERN Council meeting this year: prof. Jūras Banys, prof. Leonas Valkūnas and Dr. Andrius Juodagalvis.
“Lithuania’s membership in CERN will allow us to accelerate our experimental research in Lithuania, as well as ensure that new technologies are implemented as quickly as possible. Our scientists, engineers, and industry will face new challenges, but it also will open up new opportunities – we will be able to join the best international scientist teams in the world,” said Dr. A. Juodagalvis.
CERN spent more than sixty years searching for answers to fundamental questions of the Universe; it promotes worldwide technological growth and prepares future scientists. Teams of talented CERN researchers created the Large Hadron Collider, the Worldwide LHC Computing Grid, and the World Wide Web.
The most advanced laboratories in the world and their work are now more open than they ever were. Lithuania’s CERN membership will allow students and scientists from various fields to apply for paid internships in CERN labs near Geneva.
In order to answer the fundamental questions of the Universe, CERN needs mostly physics theorists and elementary particle physicists. However, CERN welcomes students and PhDs of technological, administrative or social sciences in its internship programs.
One of the main expectations for the cooperation between Lithuanian businesses and CERN is the establishment of a CERN Business Incubator. It would be only tenth CERN Business Incubator in the world. It would ensure rapid development of innovations and encourage further technological advances in Lithuania.
Long-term academic connections between Vilnius University physicists and CERN helped establish the first shared Experimental Nuclear and Particle Physics Centre at VU Faculty of Physics in 2017. Its Chairman will coordinate experimental particle physics research in Lithuania.
The Centre popularises CERN’s fundamental research, explains the peculiarities of elementary particle physics, and helps Vilnius University scientists take part in various CERN programs and experiments.