Twenty-seven engineers involved in the FAIR project in Germany recently spent three days at CERN. The purpose of their visit: tour ALICE and meet with CERN engineers. This marks the start of a close cooperation.

The FAIR project engineers and their CERN counterparts.

If you want to build a new particle accelerator and wish to benefit from existing expertise, who do you go to see? Well… why not go straight to CERN? That’s what this group of 27 engineers did. They are working on a new accelerator project, the Facility for Antiproton and Ion Research (FAIR), to be built at the heavy-ion research centre GSI located near Darmstadt, Germany. Representing a variety of disciplines, from manufacturing to architecture, they will be responsible for making the project a reality.

The visit was organised from 14-16 October, making it possible to include a tour of the ALICE experiment prior to the re-start of the LHC. However, the main goal was to allow the German engineers to meet with their CERN counterparts. "They had long discussions with members of the different services," says Horst Wenninger, who was responsible for organising the visit. "They were very impressed and full of admiration for what they saw. From tunnel construction to superconducting magnets, the experience gained with the LHC will help the FAIR engineers who are facing similar challenges."

This is not the first time that GSI and CERN have cooperated. Their mutual history goes back three decades. This meeting should lead to a more intense exchange of knowledge, skills, and even personnel. Young people could be among the beneficiaries of this cooperation: "There will be work opportunities at FAIR, and this cooperation could open some doors at GSI for young CERN-trained engineers," continues Wenninger. That’s because FAIR, like CERN, is built on international cooperation. And that’s where "the CERN spirit is a model," asserts Wenninger.

Antoine Cappelle