Centre’s nod for India’s associate membership in CERN

The Centre has approved the long-standing demand of Indian scientists that the country be an associate member of

CERN (European Organisation for Nuclear Research).

  • Currently, India has observer status in CERN, which has 21 member states.
  • To be an associate member, India will have to pay $10.7 million annually.
  • The status of associate member is also the pre-stage to full membership.
  • As an associate member, India would have been entitled to attend open and restricted sessions of the organization.
  • The associate membership will open the doors of mega science experiments for Indian scientists and will also allow Indian industry to participate in bids for Cern contracts across various sectors.
  • India was given “Observer” status in Cern in 2002.

About CERN:

The European Organization for Nuclear Research, known as CERN is a European research organization that operates the largest particle physics laboratory in the world. The CERN convention was signed in 1953 by the 12 founding states and entered into force on 29 September 1954.

  • It has 21 European member states.
  • Israel is the first (and currently only) non-European country granted full membership.
  • Member states have special duties and privileges. They make a contribution to the capital and operating costs of CERN’s programmes, and are represented in the council, responsible for all important decisions about the organization and its activities.
  • CERN’s main function is to provide the particle accelerators and other infrastructure needed for high energy physics research – as a result, numerous experiments have been constructed at CERN as a result of international collaborations.
  • CERN is also the place the World Wide Web (www.) was first implemented.
  • It also operates the Large Hadron Collider (LHC).
  • Some states (or international organizations) for which membership is either not possible or not yet feasible are observers.
  • “Observer” status allows non-member states to attend council meetings and to receive council documents, without taking part in the decision-making procedures of the organization.
  • Observer states and organizations currently involved in CERN programmes include the
    • European Commission,
    • India,
    • Japan,
    • Russian Federation,
    • Turkey,
    • UNESCO and
    • USA.

Large Hadron Collider:

  • The Large Hadron Collider (LHC) is the world’s largest and most powerful particle accelerator.
  • Built by: European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN)
  • Aim: to allow physicists to test the predictions of different theories of particle physics and high-energy physics, and particularly prove or disprove the existence of the theorized Higgs boson and of the large family of new particles predicted by super symmetric theories.


  • The LHC consists of a 27-kilometre ring of superconducting magnets with a number of accelerating structures to boost the energy of the particles along the way.
  • Inside the accelerator, two high-energy particle beams travel at close to the speed of light before they are made to collide.
  • The beams travel in opposite directions in separate beam pipes – two tubes kept at ultrahigh vacuum.
  • They are guided around the accelerator ring by a strong magnetic field maintained by superconducting electromagnets.
  • The electromagnets are built from coils of special electric cable that operates in a superconducting state, efficiently conducting electricity without resistance or loss of energy. This requires chilling the magnets to ‑3°C – a temperature colder than outer space. For this reason, much of the accelerator is connected to a distribution system of liquid helium, which cools the magnets, as well as to other supply services.
  • Just prior to collision, another type of magnet is used to “squeeze” the particles closer together to increase the chances of collisions. The particles are so tiny that the task of making them collide is akin to firing two needles 10 kilometres apart with such precision that they meet halfway.

Sources: The Hindu, http://home.web.cern.ch/, Wiki.