News from Council

Today concludes a very busy week for Council. As you’ll have seen from the press release this morning, Council elected a new President, who will take up his mandate on 1 January along with the new management team, which was also approved by Council yesterday.


You’ll find full details of the incoming Director-General’s management team and structures here. Completing the configuration for the immediate future, Council also approved the medium term plan, along with the budget for 2016.

In other Council business, two complete applications for Associate Membership were discussed. Following an earlier letter, India’s complete application was received and considered by Council. Consequently, a fact-finding mission has been established to report back before the end of the year. A new application was also received from Azerbaijan, with a fact-finding mission to be established. India’s involvement with CERN goes back to the 1970s, and the country currently has observer status at Council. Azerbaijan’s involvement is more recent, beginning with a contribution to the ATLAS experiment through the Joint Institute for Nuclear Research, JINR. As the enlargement process continues to move steadily forward, it was also our pleasure to welcome the Pakistani delegation, attending for the first time.

In a break from tradition, this Council week concluded not with a sandwich lunch in the salle des pas perdus, but with a visit to the Proton Synchrotron’s East experimental hall. The occasion was the opportunity to visit the Italian and South African winners of the CERN Beamline for Schools competition, currently in its second year. After a successful week of experiments, the two teams are reaching the end of their stay at CERN, and preparing to write up their results. Delegates also took the opportunity to visit the CLOUD experiment, situated on an adjacent beam line.

Beamline for Schools was established in 2014 to give school students the opportunity to carry out their own experiment at CERN. So far, four groups have had that opportunity, but the impact runs both broader and deeper. Teachers have told us that, win or not, taking part has been a fantastic experience for their students, and thanks to physicists engaged in outreach around the world, many links have been established between physics and schools. All in all, Beamline for Schools has become a valuable part of our contribution to developing a new generation of scientists and scientifically engaged young adults.

Rolf Heuer