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India Becomes Associate Member of CERN:

India has been conferred with an associate membership at European Organisation for Nuclear Research. Till September this year India had an ‘observer’ status.

CERN is the world’s largest nuclear and particle physics laboratory located near Geneva, Switzerland. Scientists there have been probing the fundamentals of the universe, and have been using the most sophisticated instruments to probe some profound questions. What is the universe made of? How did it all start? and many more such questions. CERN had been in the headlines recently for their discoveries like the ‘Higgs-Boson particle’ and many similar ones.

Presently it has

  • 22 member states
  • 4 associate member states
  • Observer status is given to four states and three International Organisations

The  agreement was recently signed by Sekhar Basu, chairman of Atomic Energy Commission and secretary of Department of Atomic Energy (DAE), and CERN director general Dr. Fabiola Gianotti at the DAE’s office in Mumbai.

The membership comes at a time when there was criticism within the scientific community over the delay in India accepting the membership. Pakistan became an associate member of the body in 2014. Last year, the Union cabinet green-lit the proposal for India officially entering CERN. After which the Council accepted India as an associate member.
India has to contribute an annual contribution of 11.5 million swiss frank to stay on as an associate member.

How would India benefit?
There are three major activities going on in our laboratory—accelerators, detectors and computing. Indian scientist fraternity is well recognised to be very good at all the three areas. As an associate member of CERN there will be enhanced participation of young scientists and engineers. It will also open opportunities for Indian industries to participate directly in CERN. The industries now can directly bag contracts for specified requirements.

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