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CERN hosts the 18th meeting of IPPOG

CERN hosts the 18th meeting of IPPOG
Attendees of the 18th meeting of the International Particle Physics Outreach Group (IPPOG) held at CERN on 28-30 November (Image: CERN)

How can particle physicists effectively engage students, policy-makers and concerned citizens around the globe? Which countries host researchers but do not yet have established networks linking them to local educators? What commonalities do astroparticle, nuclear and collider physicists share, concerning public engagement and education? How can we best use these efforts to build and foster the public support needed for science and the future of our field?

These and other issues were highlighted at the 2019 autumn meeting of the International Particle Physics Outreach Group (IPPOG), hosted by CERN on 28-30 November. Participants from CERN's International Relations sector, the Nuclear Physics European Collaboration Committee (NuPECC) and the Astroparticle Physics European Consortium (APPEC) joined IPPOG members to address the strategic expansion of the collaboration.

Deliberations on geographic expansion were sparked by the steady growth of IPPOG since its establishment as a collaboration in 2016. It now comprises 26 countries, five experiments and CERN, with more candidates in consideration. Charlotte Warakaulle brought her perspective, as CERN Director for International Relations, presenting the Organization’s current trends and priorities for growth. Emmanuel Tsesmelis (CERN Head of Relations with Associate Member and Non-Member States) joined Gabriele-Elisabeth Körner (Scientific Secretary for NuPECC), Hans Peter Beck (IPPOG Chair), Nicolas Arnaud (EGO/VIRGO Outreach) and Teresa Montaruli (APPEC Chair) on a panel that identified common interests in their communities and explored paths of cooperation. A key common thread in IPPOG and its partners is that public engagement and communication are strategic pillars of our field, which is relevant to the current process of drafting the European Particle Physics Strategy Update (EPPSU) 2020.

Collaboration news included a report from the Physics Masterclass coordination team on the reach of the 2019 international masterclasses (14 000 students in 54 countries) and planning for 2020 (26 February 8 April), as well as IPPOG’s participation in the United Nations’ International Day of Women and Girls in Science and Worldwide Data Day. Other activities highlighted included IPPOG participation in global educational programmes and outreach initiatives at festivals and conferences.

IPPOG collaboration board members concluded the meeting with decisions on composition, future direction and leadership. The High-Altitude Water Čerenkov Gamma-Ray Observatory collaboration (HAWC) was voted in as a new Member and the GSI Helmholtzzentrum für Schwerionenforschung as IPPOG’s first Associate Member. Ana Godinho replaced Rolf Landua as CERN representative and Pedro Abreu (Instituto Superior Técnico, University of Lisboa) was elected to replace Hans Peter Beck (University of Bern) as IPPOG Chair, alongside Steven Goldfarb (University of Melbourne).

The IPPOG spring 2020 meeting will be hosted by the Montenegro Ministry of Science in Igalo.

Hans Peter Beck and Steven Goldfarb, IPPOG Chairs