PM praises scientists for improving country’s image

CESSY (France): Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif said on Saturday that the nation was proud of its scientists and engineers who were building the country’s image and bringing the latest technology.

He was talking to a group of Pakistani students and researchers here at the European Organisation for Nuclear Research (Cern). This was the first visit of a Pakistani head of government to the research organisation.

The prime minister inspected Compact Muon S – the largest particle collider in the world. The equipment is part of the 27-kilometre-long Large Hadron Collider, where Nawaz Sharif saw the 14,000-ton outer and inner shields built by Heavy Mechanical Complex, Taxila.

One of Cern’s most-renowned inventions is the World Wide Web, which subsequently led to the creation of the ‘Grid’ that harnesses the power of computers around the world. Pakistan is also part of the Grid network that allows its scientists to analyse data generated at the Cern.

Hopes Pakistan’s membership of European research organisation will yield further advancements in the field

The prime minister said that Pakistan considered it a matter of pride to have become an associate member of Cern last year, especially as it was the first non-European country to have achieved the milestone.

“Our associate membership of Cern is recognition of the achievements of our scientists, engineers and technicians,” he said.

According to Cern officials, the membership will allow Pakistani scientists to become members of its staff and participate in training and career-development programmes.

It will also allow the Pakistani industry to bid for Cern contracts, presenting opportunities for industrial collaboration in areas of advanced technology.

Fabiola Gianotti, the director-general of Cern, said that Pakistan had a long history of research in elementary particle physics and had produced renowned scientists in the field, including Nobel laureate Dr Abdus Salam.

Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif paid tribute to Dr Salam, saying: “He was a great Pakistani, the pride of our country who brought a good name to Pakistan.”

Founded in 1954, the Cern laboratory is located near the French-Swiss border near Geneva. It was one of Europe’s first joint ventures and now has 21 member states.

Scientists at Cern use complex equipment to study the basic constituents of matter – the fundamental particles.

The particles are made to collide together at almost the speed of light. The process enables physicists to study how particles interact and provides insights into the fundamental laws of nature.

Pakistan became an associate member on July 31 last year. Before that, the country had signed a cooperation agreement with Cern in 1994, under which Pakistan contributed in the CMS and ATLAS experiments. Today, Pakistan contributes to the ALICE and CMS experiments and is also involved in accelerator developments, making it an important partner for Cern.

Earlier in Davos, PM Sharif said that world leaders now held a positive opinion about Pakistan because of its progress on the economic front.

Speaking to journalists on Saturday before leaving for Geneva, he said his presence at the World Economic Forum had provided him the opportunity to interact with political and business leaders from across the world and apprise them of Pakistan’s economic successes.

In response to a question, he said the government was pursuing a progressive agenda as per the vision of the country’s founder, Muhammad Ali Jinnah. In this context, women were being encouraged to participate in the country’s progress and development, he said.

Published in Dawn, January 24th, 2016

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