UK Minister enthusiastic after visit to CERN

ON Tuesday 5 August the UK Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills, John Denham, came to CERN.

The UK continues its strong links with CERN.

The Minister was welcomed on arrival at CERN by Robert Aymar, the Director-General, and senior British scientists. Following a short presentation, he began a comprehensive tour of the Laboratory with a visit to both the LHC at point 5 and the CMS experiment.

After lunch the Minister’s busy schedule continued, completing his overview of the main areas of UK participation at CERN. As soon as he had signed the guest book, he was whisked off to visit the LHCb experiment, the LHC computing grid project (LCG) and the ATLAS control room.

However, the last item on his itinerary was perhaps the most illuminating. Meeting a diverse group of British scientists, from technical and summer students to staff members with more than 30 years of experience, the Minister had the opportunity to ask questions about their work and background.

The discussion was a lively one, covering issues such as the need for more transparent funding for technical students, how the CERN model can be used to tackle large-scale problems such as climate change, and the importance of recruiting more physics teachers. At the end of the meeting the Minister summed up his visit, saying: "During my visit at CERN, I was very impressed by the wide range of opportunities offered by CERN’s education programmes. I believe they could greatly benefit some of the UK’s increased intake of science and engineering students at university level. I am therefore keen to see more UK students of computing and engineering, as well as physics, taking even greater advantage of the excellent student programmes that CERN has to offer."