Fu­ture Prospects

Pak­istan’s as­so­ciate mem­ber­ship of CERN could open in­ter­est­ing new pos­si­bil­i­ties.

Southasia - - FEATURE PAKISTAN - By Syed Zee­shan Ahmed

It is said that the sciences are im­por­tant for any so­ci­ety to evolve. Sci­en­tific dis­course, ap­proach and crit­i­cal think­ing should be con­sid­ered as nec­es­sary com­po­nents. Carl Sa­gan, the cel­e­brated as­tronomer and astro­physi­cist, said, “We live in a so­ci­ety exquisitely de­pen­dent on sci­ence and tech­nol­ogy, in which hardly any­one knows any­thing about sci­ence and tech­nol­ogy.” A rather trou­bling ob­ser­va­tion but it hap­pens to be a re­al­ity. In the case of Pak­istan, this could be seen in its most ter­ri­ble form. Re­cently it was an­nounced by CERN ( Con­seil Eu­ropéen pour la Recherche Nu­cléaire) or The Euro­pean Or­gan­i­sa­tion for Nu­clear Re­search, that Pak­istan has of­fi­cially been made an as­so­ciate mem­ber of the pres­ti­gious or­ga­ni­za­tion, af­ter the coun­try had rat­i­fied an agree­ment, signed in De­cem­ber 2014. Amaz­ingly, Pak­istan is the first Asian coun­try to have be­come a mem­ber. The news was not no­ticed by many, let alone

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cel­e­brated, be­cause they had not been aware of CERN, and its ac­tiv­i­ties or the sig­nif­i­cance of Pak­istan’s in­duc­tion. Sadly, that’s how the state has been with re­spect to sci­ence in Pak­istan, where Sa­gan’s words ring night­mar­ishly true.

In­ter­est­ingly, how­ever, Pak­istan’s re­la­tion­ship with CERN goes back to 1994. The two signed an agree­ment, fol­lowed by dif­fer­ent pro­to­cols. CMS (Com­pact Muon So­le­noid) and AT­LAS (A Toroidal LHC Ap­pa­ra­tus) were the projects that Pak­istan con­trib­uted to, af­ter­wards. Pak­istan con­tin­ues to as­sist in CMS, as well as the ALICE ( A Large Ion Col­lider Ex­per­i­ment). All th­ese, along with con­tri­bu­tions to the ac­cel­er­a­tor de­vel­op­ments at CERN, have made Pak­istan an im­por­tant part­ner. The as­so­ciate mem­ber­ship has opened a brand new and com­pletely dif­fer­ent hori­zon for Pak­istan. Firstly, the coun­try can as­sist in the gov­er­nance of the or­ga­ni­za­tion through CERN coun­cil meet­ings. This will also en­able Pak­ista­nis to work at CERN and join their pro­grams. Apart from that, Pak­istan’s co­op­er­a­tion with CERN is im­por­tant in the field of nu­clear re­search in Pak­istan.

The coun­try’s power cri­sis, de­spite be­ing a nu­clear coun­try, has been one of the pri­mary is­sues that it faces. What this mem­ber­ship can pro­vide are so­lu­tions to that. Re­searches on the har­ness­ing of nu­clear en­ergy can be ex­e­cuted. A proper study of Pak­istan’s ex­ist­ing power- gen­er­a­tion sys­tem with re­spect to the nu­clear sciences can also be put in mo­tion.

In­dus­tries could also ben­e­fit from this. Ad­vanced tech­nol­ogy can be worked upon, push­ing the in­dus­trial frame­work into a new era with re­spect to pro­duc­tion. Long- term con­tracts be­tween CERN and in­dus­tries can lead to sep­a­rate ap­plied sciences di­vi­sions and evo­lu­tion of the in­dus­trial land­scape in the coun­try.

An­other im­por­tant as­pect to con­sider is of those in Pak­istan who

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