Particle physics experiments

Russia is BANNED from new experiments at the Large Hadron Collider

The European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) has announced that Russia has been banned from further experiments at the Large Hadron Collider due to its military invasion of Ukraine.

In a statement, CERN said it “will not engage in new collaborations” with the Russian Federation and its institutions “until further notice”.

CERN also stated that it will encourage initiatives aimed at supporting Ukrainian collaborators and Ukrainian scientific activity in the field of high energy physics.

The organization operates the Large Hadron Collider, the largest and most powerful particle accelerator in the world, famous for its 2012 discovery of the elementary particle Higgs Boson.

The huge circular laboratory, 16 miles in circumference, lies underground straddling the Franco-Swiss border near Geneva.

CERN operates the Large Hadron Collider, the largest and most powerful particle accelerator in the world (pictured) famous for its 2012 discovery of the Higgs boson

CERN MEMBER STATES

CERN is managed by 23 Member States, although many non-European countries are involved in different ways.

– Austria

– Belgium

– Bulgaria

– Czech Republic

– Denmark

– Finland

– France

– Germany

– Greece

– Hungary

– Israel

– Italy

– Netherlands

– Norway

– Poland

– Portugal

– Romania

– Serbia

– Slovak Republic

– Spain

– Sweden

– Switzerland

– UK

The CERN Council had met on Tuesday to discuss “future interactions with Russia” before announcing its decision, which it described in a statement posted online.

“CERN’s 23 Member States condemn in the strongest possible terms the military invasion of Ukraine by the Russian Federation,” the statement said.

‘[We] deplore the resulting loss of life and humanitarian impact, as well as the involvement of Belarus in this illegal use of force against Ukraine.

“Deeply touched by the widespread and tragic consequences of the aggression, the management and staff of CERN, together with the scientific community of the Member States of CERN, endeavor to contribute to the humanitarian effort in Ukraine and to help the Ukrainian community at CERN.”

As part of this decision, CERN also suspended Russia’s “observer” status with the Council until further notice.

Nation states with observer status are not members. Instead, observer status has been granted to countries and organizations that have made “significant contributions to CERN’s infrastructure”.

So far, observer status has been granted to Japan, Russia and the United States, as well as to three organizations – the European Union, the Joint Institute for Nuclear Research (JINR) and the ‘UNESCO.

Although Ukraine is also not one of the 23 Member States of CERN, it is an “associate member” of CERN, which means that the country pays a reduced contribution to the CERN budget and benefits from research.

A general view of the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) experiment during a media visit to the Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) in 2014

A general view of the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) experiment during a media visit to the Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) in 2014

This 2018 photo made available by CERN shows the LHCb Muon system at the European Organization for Nuclear Research's Large Hadron Collider facility outside Geneva

This 2018 photo made available by CERN shows the LHCb Muon system at the European Organization for Nuclear Research’s Large Hadron Collider facility outside Geneva

THE GREAT HADRON COLLISIONER

The Large Hadron Collider (LHC) is the largest and most powerful particle accelerator in the world.

It is located in a 27 kilometer (16.8 mile) tunnel under the Franco-Swiss border.

The LHC began colliding particles in 2010. Inside the LHC’s 27 km ring, bunches of protons travel near the speed of light and collide at four points of interaction.

Inside the accelerator, two beams of high-energy particles travel at near the speed of light before colliding. The beams travel in opposite directions in separate beam pipes.

They are guided around the accelerator ring by a strong magnetic field maintained by superconducting electromagnets.

Electromagnets are constructed from coils of special electrical wire that operate in a superconducting state, efficiently conducting electricity without resistance or loss of energy.

These collisions generate new particles, which are measured by detectors surrounding the interaction points.

By analyzing these collisions, physicists around the world are deepening our understanding of the laws of nature.

CERN did not ban any Russian participation in its ongoing projects, but said the situation in Ukraine “will continue to be monitored carefully”.

“The Council stands ready to take any further action, if necessary, at its future meetings,” added CERN. In addition, CERN Management will comply with all applicable international sanctions.

However, one physicist has called for Russia’s outright expulsion from the lab.

“Maintaining these connections, even at the scientific level, will give these gangsters a chance to further manipulate and terrorize our country and the whole of Europe,” Christoph Rembser, a CERN physicist, told Science.

Since its creation in 1954, CERN had aimed to help promote peace in post-war Europe, also underlined Professor John Ellis, a theoretical physicist from King’s College London.

“One of CERN’s mottos is ‘science in the service of peace’, Professor Ellis said. “And that dates back to the 1950s, when CERN was actually a meeting place for scientists from Soviet, the United States and Europe.”

Earlier this week, an open letter signed by Russian scientists involved in CERN experiments was published online.

It reads: “We would like to express our sadness and regret at what is happening in Ukraine.

“We oppose the military actions initiated in Ukraine by the authorities of [the] Russian Federation.

“We strongly advocate resolving the conflict through diplomacy and negotiations as the only appropriate means.”

Russia’s attack on Ukraine has already had serious scientific implications – last week the European Space Agency (ESA) said it had “fully implemented” the sanctions imposed on Russia by its 22 Member States due to the armed conflict.

According to the ESA, it is now “highly unlikely” that the UK-built Rosalind Franklin rover will launch in 2022. Part of the ExoMars mission, the rover is a joint project of ESA and the Russian space agency Roscosmos.

Responding to the decision, Dmitry Rogozin, director general of the Russian space agency Roscosmos, posted in his native language to Twitter: “The European Space Agency, despite the Russian grandmother, decided to freeze his ears.”

The Rosalind Franklin Mars Rover (pictured here on Mars) was set to lift off for the Red Planet in September 2022 – but launch this year is now 'very unlikely'

The Rosalind Franklin Mars Rover (pictured here on Mars) was set to lift off for the Red Planet in September 2022 – but launch this year is now ‘very unlikely’

Pictured is Dmitry Rogozin, director general of the Russian space agency Roscosmos.  Responding to the ESA decision, Rogozin tweeted in his native language:

Pictured is Dmitry Rogozin, director general of the Russian space agency Roscosmos. Responding to ESA’s decision, Rogozin posted in his native language on Twitter: “The European Space Agency, despite the Russian grandmother, decided to freeze his ears.”

The future of the International Space Station (ISS), supported by five participating space agencies – including ESA, Roscosmos and NASA – since its inception, has also been questioned.

Currently, seven astronauts – four from the United States, two from Russia and one from Germany – are on the ISS.

Rogozin said US sanctions could “destroy our cooperation” and said the research platform would collapse on Earth without his country’s help.

“If you block cooperation with us, who will save the ISS from uncontrolled deorbiting and falling onto American or European territory?” Rogozin said – while noting that the station does not fly over much of Russia.

The International Space Station (ISS, pictured), which is 357.5ft wide and 239.4ft long, completes an entire orbit around Earth once every 90 minutes

The International Space Station (ISS, pictured), which measures 357.5ft wide and 239.4ft long, completes an entire orbit around Earth once every 90 minutes

However, a space expert said that was unlikely, given that Roscosmos has Russian personnel on board.

“No one wants to put the lives of astronauts and cosmonauts at risk through political maneuvering,” John Logsdon, professor and space analyst at George Washington University, told AFP.

Regarding the Rosalind Franklin rover, the ESA also said that its Director General “will analyze all options and prepare a formal decision on the way forward”.

EUROPE AND RUSSIA WORK TOGETHER ON EXOMARS MISSION TO SEARCH FOR SIGNS OF MARTIAN LIFE

ExoMars’ main goal is to find out if life ever existed on Mars – it will do so through a series of instruments on the surface and in orbit.

This includes an orbiting spacecraft called the Trace Gas ORbiter (TGO) which carries a probe to study trace gases such as methane around the planet.

Scientists believe that methane, a chemical that on Earth is strongly linked to life, could help identify areas where life once existed or might have existed.

The second part of the ExoMars mission, postponed to 2022/2023 due to the coronavirus, will deliver a rover to the surface of Mars.

The rover is being built in Stevenage, UK, and is named after British scientist Rosalind Franklin.

It will be the first to be able to both move across the surface of the planet and drill into the ground to collect and analyze samples.

The rover will include technology called the Mars Organic Molecule Analyzer (MOMA) that will allow it to analyze samples and send data back to Earth.