CERN particle accelerator 311.
(photo credit: Courtesy)
The cabinet approved on Sunday Israel’s joining CERN, the European Organization
for Nuclear Research, which is the world’s largest scientific organization in
the field of physics.
The country has thus received additional
international recognition for its leading contribution to research in general
and specifically the CERN project working on the particle accelerator
Israel gets nod to become CERN member
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said after the unanimous vote
that the official invitation to join CERN was an achievement that “reflects the
latent capabilities of Israeli scientists and constitutes recognition of their
Israel is joining an exclusive club, which provides unusual
visibility, exposure, prestige and international status.”
organization, based in Switzerland, creates the most sophisticated, advanced and
expensive scientific infrastructure, he added, and Israel’s joining as an member
in the organization is of great scientific, industrial and policy
In December, Israel passed the acceptance stage toward its
final invitation to become a member of CERN. More than two years ago, Israelis
were among the 50 scientists in the control room of the Large Hadron Collider
project located under the Swiss-French border.
Half a year ago, a CERN
delegation visited Israel, examined its contribution and met with Science and
Technology Minister Daniel Herschkowitz (Habayit Hayehudi). As a result, Israel
has been named one of five countries recognized unanimously as “being worthy” of
joining the project.
At first, Switzerland opposed Israel’s official
participation but then changed its position.
The invitation process will
be finalized in two years.
The particle accelerator project involves some
6,500 scientists from over 80 countries – including half of the world’s particle
physics researchers – who are trying to bash together the tiny particles that
make up the universe at mind-boggling speeds.
This will enable scientists
to observe the extreme energies, mini-black holes and other phenomena that
occurred during the first millionths of a second after the Big Bang – the mother
of all explosions that led to the creation of the universe.
hope of the project is that the findings will help explain the foundations of
particle physics, and shed light on the basic forces and building blocks of
So far, the project has cost around $10 billion and taken more
than 15 years at the world’s largest particle physics laboratory – built in a
circular tunnel buried 50 to 175 meters under Switzerland and France, with a
circumference of 27 kilometers.
Israel’s high level of theoretical and
practical know-how – much greater than Israel’s proportionate size – was
appreciated at CERN and is responsible for Israel’s path toward recognition as
an official member. CERN has even ordered parts from Israeli industry and sent
experts to visit on a regular basis. In this respect Israel is among the top
eight countries, along with scientists from Italy, France, Germany, Japan,
Russia, the US and the UK.
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