The European Council for Nuclear Research (CERN) has announced that it will suspend Russia’s “observer” status at its facilities and halt new partnerships with Russian scientific institutions following Russia’s military invasion of Ukraine.
The vote, which falls short of an original proposal to ban Russian scientists outright from CERN facilities, was led by Ukrainian scientists from the Geneva organization. CERN also announced that it would fund initiatives to support Ukrainian scientists and projects in the field of high-energy physics.
CERN operates the Large Hadron Collider – The world’s largest atom smasher famous for discovering the Higgs boson in 2012 – as part of a collaboration between 23 Member States and seven Associated Member States; Ukraine belongs to the latter and pays contributions to the organization. Russia (similar to the US) has observer membership, which means that while it pays no dues, it has more than 1,000 scientists working at CERN – about 8% of the collaboration’s 12,000 researchers. according to science.
“The 23 member states of CERN strongly condemn the Russian Federation’s military invasion of Ukraine and regret the resulting loss of life and humanitarian impact,” the CERN Council said in an opinion dismissed after the session. “Deeply touched by the far-reaching and tragic consequences of the aggression, CERN management and staff, as well as the scientific community in CERN member states, are working to contribute to humanitarian efforts in Ukraine and to serve the Ukrainian community at CERN.”
The announcement is a significant step for CERN. Established in 1954, the collaboration enabled European, American and Russian scientists to work together even in the frostiest of years the Cold War: including the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis; the Soviet Union’s suppression of the Prague Spring in 1968; and even the Soviet Union’s invasion of Afghanistan in 1979. Throughout this period, CERN maintained its political neutrality. Today’s announcement put an end to that.
Science has reported that some of the Russian collaborators at CERN are among those who oppose the occupation of Ukraine by the Russian military, which means that if they were expelled from CERN, they would probably have to take refuge with the organization anyway.
“CERN, as a leading scientific laboratory, should immediately end all cooperation with Russian institutions, otherwise every crime and injustice of their government and armed forces will be considered legitimate,” said a Ukrainian physicist in Kyiv working on an experiment at CERN. said science. “We call on the democratic society, the scientific society, to stand with us against this tyrant [Russian President Vladimir Putin].”
Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, which began on February 24, has killed at least 406 civilians and wounded at least 801, according to the United Nations said on Monday (7th March.). An official ceasefire agreement between Ukraine and Russia was broken today (March 8) when Russia shelled an evacuation route for civilians trapped in the besieged city of Mariupol. according to a spokesman for the Ukrainian Foreign Ministry.
“The situation will continue to be carefully monitored and the Council stands ready to take further action as appropriate at its future meetings,” CERN officials said in the statement. “The CERN Council also expresses its support for the many members of the Russian scientific community at CERN who oppose this invasion.”
Originally published on Live Science.
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