CERN welcomes Korea as an official collaborator

His Excellency Mr. Won-Hwa Park, Ambassador of the Republic of Korea to Switzerland, with CERN's Director-General at the signature ceremony to mark Korea as an official collaborator.

On 25 October, the Ambassador of the Republic of Korea to Switzerland, His Excellency Mr Won-Hwa Park, visited CERN. He came to sign, together with the Director-General Dr Robert Aymar, a formal Cooperation Agreement between CERN and the Government of the Republic of Korea, witnessed by Dr Joo-Han Kim of the Korean Ministry of Science and Technology. With this agreement that covers the development of scientific and technical cooperation in high-energy physics, Korea's participation in the experimental physics programme of CERN has now been formalised.

Two days earlier, Dr Myung-Bak Lee, the former Mayor of Seoul, paid a visit to CERN, accompanied by ten members of his staff and fifteen Korean journalists. CERN was one of the destinations in Europe (together with GSI in Germany) on Dr Lee's agenda to gain information and to establish contacts with large-scale fundamental science institutions. During his visit, Dr Lee and his team toured the CMS detector and the ALICE underground experimental area. Dr Lee reiterated that Korea, the 13th largest economy in the world, realises the importance of funding fundamental research such as particle physics and its impact on a country's development. As a candidate in the next presidential election, Dr. Lee pledged to promote particle physics in Korea.

At least eighteen PhDs, supervising a large number of students and technicians from fourteen Korean universities are now registered at CERN and these numbers are still expected to grow. All the Koreans at CERN were invited to a discussion meeting with Dr Myung-Bak Lee, and to attend the signature ceremony with Ambassador Mr Won-Hwa Park.

A third visit from official Korean delegates took place on 3 November. CERN welcomed an important delegation of the Permanent Mission of the Republic of Korea, led by Ambassador Hyuck Choi, Ambassador Tae-yul Cho, and Ambassador Dong-hee Chang. The party toured the ALICE underground experimental area and viewed the LHC tunnel at Point 2 (Saint-Genis-Pouilly). They also visited the SM18 magnet test hall, followed by a presentation on information technology at CERN and a trip to the Computer Centre visitors' gallery.