Hadron Particle Collider 311 AP.
(photo credit: AP)
Israel has passed the acceptance stage toward its final invitation to become a
member of the Center of European Nuclear Research particle accelerator project,
the Science and Technology Ministry and the Foreign Ministry announced on
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“This is an important day for Israel,” said Science and
Technology Minister Prof.
Daniel Herschkowitz. “Israel’s science has
received additional international recognition for our leading contribution to
research in general and specifically the CERN project.”
Two years ago,
Israelis were among the 50 scientists in the control room of the Large Hadron
Collider project of the European Organization for Nuclear Research, located
under the Swiss- French borders. Two months ago, a CERN delegation visited
Israel, examined its contribution and met with Herschkowitz.
It was a
very successful visit, the minister said.
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 aborted this position. The final invitation process is due to take two more
Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman added that the announcement is
the result of two years of efforts by Israeli diplomats to visit the capitals of
all other members to present the country’s scientific achievements.
thank the members for putting faith in the State of Israel in general and in its
science in particular.”
Considered the world’s largest experiment, the
humongous particle accelerator’s historic launch in September 2008 is a
collaboration of some of the world’s top scientists. Although professors from
Israeli universities – Giora Mikenberg of the Weizmann Institute of Science in
Rehovot, Erez Etzion of Tel Aviv University and Prof. Shlomit Tarem of the
Technion-Israel Institute of Technology – were present at the launch and a few
dozen other Israelis helped prepare for it, the country was not an official
The particle accelerator 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.
While technical difficulties caused
significant delays, the scientists are now on the way to learning much at
The ultimate 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 nature.
So far, the project has cost some $10
billion and consumed 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.
high level of theoretical and practical know-how – much greater than Israel’s
proportionate size – was greatly appreciated at CERN and is responsible for
Israel’s path toward recognition as a official member. CERN has even ordered
parts from Israeli industry and sent experts to visit on a regular basis. This
made Israel among the top eight countries, along with scientists from Italy,
France, Germany, Japan, Russia, the US and the UK.