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Accueil / communiqués partenaires / L’AUTRICHE PRÊTE À SE RETIRER DU CERN ?

L’AUTRICHE PRÊTE À SE RETIRER DU CERN ?

le 14 mai 2009

La patrie d’Erwin Schrödinger (Physicien autrichien, 1887-1961, prix Nobel en 1933) aurait-elle décidé de sacrifier sa recherche en physique ? Elle s’apprête à ne plus participer au financement de l’Organisation européenne pour la recherche nucléaire plus connue sous l’acronyme CERN (pour Conseil Européen pour la Recherche Nucléaire, institué en 1952). L’Autriche avait rejoint cette organisation dès 1959.

Les physiciens autrichiens, très inquiets pour l’avenir de leurs recherches, ont lancé une pétition que l’on trouve ici http://www.hephy.at/en/

On peut lire leur appel ci-dessous.

Ce combat pour la recherche fondamentale est aussi le notre. En effet cette décision est le résultat d’une discipline budgétaire qui veut réduire toujours plus les dépenses publiques sans considération pour l’investissement à long terme que constitue la recherche fondamentale. En tout état de cause, le sacrifice financier d’une branche de la recherche ne peut se décider sans un débat public, démocratique, long et minutieux, qui n’est ici pas d’actualité.

Dear friends,

On May 7, it was announced that Austria will withdraw from CERN by the end of 2010. This shocking decision was taken by Austria’s science minister Johannes Hahn without any prior consultations or information of the Austrian particle physicists or CERN itself, giving current budget problems as an official reason. Austria’s present contribution amounts to 16 million Euros per year, a ridiculously small part of the Austrian science budget (which, by the way, was even raised).

This bizarre decision will not only affect the Austrian physicists and technicians working directly at CERN but also all researchers and students in Austria whose work depends crucially on scientific contacts to this unique laboratory, primarily in the particle, nuclear, mathematical and astroparticle physics groups of the Austrian universities and the Academy of Science. In particular the future of the High Energy Physics Institute (HEPHY) of the Austrian Academy of Science is seriously in danger.

It is an incredible shame that the country where Ludwig Boltzmann, Erwin Schroedinger, Wolfgang Pauli, Viktor Franz Hess, Lise Meitner and Bruno Touschek were born prefers to keep away from one of the greatestscientific enterprises of mankind, only six months before the beginning of the LHC’s first physics run.

It should also be noted that Austria joined CERN already in 1959 and two of the laboratory’s directors (Willibald Jentschke and Victor Weisskopf) were Austrian-born. Austria’s decision to pull out of the laboratory after fifty years of membership might even turn out to be an irresponsible signal to the governments of other CERN member states whose economic situation is, in many cases, much worse than the Austrian.

The minister’s decision still has to be approved by the government, the parliament and the president. So there is still some hope to turn down this bizarre plan which would probably ruin Austria’s international reputation in science.

We urgently need help and declarations of solidarity from the international physics community. The High Energy Physics Institute entertains the web page

http://www.hephy.at/en

to which comments can be sent. Please also visit the page

http://sos.teilchen.at

(still under construction and mainly only in German) where a petition can be signed. You may also send open letters to the minister of science :

johannes.hahn@bmwf.gv.at

Herrn Dr. Johannes Hahn, Bundesminister für Wissenschaft und Forschung, PERSOENLICH, Bundesministerium fuer Wissenschaft und Forschung, Minoritenplatz 5, A-1014 Wien (Austria)

Further addresses of the relevant members of parliament can be found on sos.teilchen.at

Letters may also be sent to Austria’s federal president :

heinz.fischer@hofburg.at

Herrn Bundespraesident Dr. Heinz Fischer, Hofburg, Leopoldinischer Trakt, A-1014 Wien (Austria)

Please distribute this message among your collegues. Try to activate also your own CERN delegates, ministries of science, exterior, etc...

Help us to save particle physics in Austria !

Prof. Helmut Neufeld, Particle Physics Group, Faculty of Physics, University of Vienna