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