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Active sharing

Actively transferring know-how from the world of basic science to the world of applied research needs to be made more systemic


The big news this week is, of course, the conclusions from the LHC performance workshop held in Chamonix from 6 to 10 February. The main recommendation, endorsed by CERN’s Machine Advisory Committee and adopted by the management, is that the LHC will run at 4 TeV per beam this year. You can find all the details from Chamonix in the slides presented on Wednesday at the summary session, which leaves me free to talk about another important development coming up soon.

In 10 days time, a new kind of gathering will be taking place in Geneva, bringing together two previously separate conferences, one driven by physics, the other by the medical community, but both looking to apply physics to the advancement of health. The merger of the International Conference for Translational Research in Radio-Oncology and CERN’s workshop on Physics for Health in Europe (ICTR-PHE) makes for a very eclectic mix. Presentations range from active shielding for interplanetary flight to the rather more down-to-earth applications of particle physics technology to medicine.

What’s really important about the ICTR-PHE conference, however, is that it is actively transferring know-how from the world of basic science to the world of applied research, and this is something we need to make more systematic. It is written in CERN’s founding Convention that the Organization should do all it can to make the results of its research as widely known as possible, and this is something we have always strived to do. In the early days of CERN, we took a fairly simple approach, publishing everything we did. But then, in 1993, something happened to change that: CERN put the web into the public domain in an act that would ensure a single open standard. Up until then, that was how CERN had always dealt with its inventions, but ever since, we’ve been more dynamic about sharing our technology. Today, we have a very proactive approach to knowledge and technology transfer, and are constantly looking for new ways to improve the flow. The ICTR-PHE conference is one clear manifestation of this.