The voice of Austrians at CERN

On 7 May the Austrian Minister for Science announced that, after over 50 years of membership, Austria would withdraw from CERN. By 18 May the Austrian Chancellor had reversed the decision. The Bulletin spoke to some of the Austrian community at CERN about the rollercoaster of events in between.

To watch this video in German click here.

There was jubilation and relief on 18 May as it was announced that Austria would not be leaving CERN. For many people this was the end of 11 nail-biting days of frantic work to try and convince the Austrian government to stay a member of CERN.

Very soon after the first announcement a petition was launched by Austrian scientists. Over the following days it received massive support, with more than 30 000 people signing it, including 16 Nobel laureates. The Austrian community at CERN, the Director-General and the President of Council were also very active, sending letters to the Austrian Minister for Science and the Chancellor.

As well as being a huge blow to both Austrian particle physics and CERN as a whole, the withdrawal would have caused problems to many individuals on limited-duration contracts. A number of collaborations would also have suffered, in particular the medical research collaboration between CERN and MedAustron.

There are more than 180 Austrians working at CERN, and the PhD programme is hugely successful. Thanks to the hard work of the Austrian particle physics community and the CERN management, Austria will continue to play an important role at CERN for many more years.

The full-length interviews are also available in German and in English.