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India joins CERN as an associate member (Relevant for GS Prelims and Mains Paper III, Topic: Nuclear Research)

India became associate member of CERN:
India became an associate member of the European Organisation for Nuclear Research (CERN), the world’s largest nuclear and particle physics laboratory and best known as operator of the Large Hadron Collider, which found the elusive Higgs boson in 2012.

Relevance of the membership:
1. India was inducted as an ‘Observer’ at CERN in 2004. The latest upgrade allows Indian companies to bid for lucrative engineering contracts and Indians can apply for staff positions at the organisation.
The associate membership would cost India CHF (Swiss Franc) 11.5 million (approximately Rs. 78 crore) annually though it still wouldn’t have voting rights on decisions of the Council.

2.An associate member of CERN is represented in the council, which is responsible for the crucial decisions of the organisation.

Operational in January:
The agreement was signed by chairman of Atomic Energy Commission and Secretary, Department of Atomic Energy (DAE), and CERN Director General. The Union Cabinet had cleared India’s participation last year and it will formally become a member around January after depositing an instrument of ratification.

India’s active involvement in the past:
Incidentally, Pakistan became an associate member of the body in 2014. 

This, even though India’s association with CERN goes back decades with an active involvement in the construction of the Large Hadron Collider (LHC). Indian scientists have played a significant role in the Compact Muon Solenoid (CMS) experiment, one of the two large experiments that led to the discovery of the Higgs Boson.

About CERN?
CERN is the world’s biggest laboratory of particle physics and operates the Large Hadron Collider (LHC). CERN is based in Geneva on the French-Swiss border. It has 22 member states and four associate member states and other associate members transitioning to full member status.

What is Large Hadron Collider?
The Large Hadron Collider (LHC) is the world's largest and most powerful particle collider, the largest, most complex experimental facility ever built, and the largest single machine in the world. It was built by the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) between 1998 and 2008 in collaboration with over 10,000 scientists and engineers from over 100 countries, as well as hundreds of universities and laboratories.

It lies in a tunnel 27 kilometres (17 mi) in circumference, as deep as 175 metres (574 ft) beneath the France–Switzerland border near Geneva, Switzerland.

The aim of the LHC is to allow physicists to test the predictions of different theories of particle physics, including measuring the properties of the Higgs boson and searching for the large family of new particles predicted by supersymmetric theories, as well as other unsolved questions of physics.


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