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ISTC involved in one of the biggest science projects ever

ISTC Facilitates Russian Contribution to One of the Largest Science Projects in the World

People working at the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) in Geneva are living through exciting times. Soon experiments at the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) will start with the aim of mapping the secrets of the universe. Two huge general-purpose detectors, ATLAS and CMS, and two detectors focused on particular tasks, ALICE and LHCb, will explore processes involved in the head-on collisions of protons of extraordinarily high energy. They will teach us about the basic forces that have shaped our universe. Simulations and tests runs are now being carried out in anticipation of the first real experiments.

Russian scientists, engineers and technicians have played important roles in the construction of the LHC and its four detectors. 

The International Science and Technology Centre (ISTC) in Moscow has been instrumental in that construction. Since 1995, when ISTC - CERN collaboration started, about 40 ISTC projects to develop different technologies have been completed. The total project volume is 28 million USD, of which ISTC contributed 11 million USD. 

Several ISTC-sponsored start-up projects, e.g., with the enterprises “Lutch”, “Mashinostroitel”, and the Bogoroditsk Technical Chemical Plant (BTCP), led to the signatures of further projects and tenders for commercial orders, as well as expanded common work with CERN and other scientific centres.

For example, the enterprise “Lutch” started to collaborate with CERN through the ISTC in 1996, with a project for the development of scintillating tiles for the ATLAS detector. Subsequently, it proposed a unique technology for the production of titanium alloy tie rods for the same detector; in parallel, the development of similar scintillating tiles were proposed for the detector LHCb and the last spin-off was a completely commercial order of different titanium support elements for the CMS experiment. More than 40 “Lutch” specialists got the opportunity to use their scientific and technological expertise in solving the tasks of modern science during 10 years.

Another example is a project for the development of scintillating crystals for the CMS detector. The initial ISTC investment of 1,900,000 USD in the project with BTCP led to a series of commercial contracts with this plant for a total value of 36 million USD. In total, 62,000 crystals are needed for the CMS detector, and similar crystals could now be used in medical imaging. 

Initiatives funded by ISTC have led to development of new networks of collaboration between Russian scientists and their colleagues in other countries. During these years of collaboration, more than 600 Russian weapon engineers and technicians worked on the CERN projects: CERN found an additional valued partner for the biggest project in high-energy physics.

ISTC has contributed to one of the most exciting experiments in the world to the benefit of both CERN and the Russian science and technological community.