Science and Technology

“The dreams, challenges and opportunities in Particle Physics” will involve Portugal

“The work we carried out this afternoon concerning the European Strategy for Particle Physics is very important”, said professor Helena Pereira, president of FCT, at the opening ceremony of the event “Portugal-CERN -Europe: Science and Technology in the coming decades”, held Thursday, 2nd July, at Técnico – CTN campus.

“Portuguese research groups have played an important role and have been developing a continuous work with CERN in terms of research, participating in different projects over the past few years. I also want to highlight the important participation of our community in advanced technology engineering internships, and in many other projects”, stressed the president of FCT.

Professor Helena Pereira visited CERN for the first time at the end of last year and she took the opportunity to share her fascination: “Planning experiments of great value that involve huge and complex infrastructures for a very distant future reveals enormous humility”.

“There is a strong tradition of Particle Physics research in Portugal, particularly at Técnico”, stressed professor Rogério Colaço, president of Técnico. “At this moment, I believe that we have all the conditions to build the proton therapy center: we have the skills, the means and the conditions to make this dream come true”. “This session is also an opportunity to launch this discussion, to present this dream, and to show the community its importance”, he added.

Professor Mário Pimenta, Portuguese delegate to CERN council and president of the Laboratory of Instrumentation and Experimental Particle Physics (LIP), highlighted the pillars on which the European Strategy for Particle Physics is based and what it means for Europe and Portugal.

“Dreams, challenges and opportunities in the field of Particle Physics will keep coming to Europe and Portugal”, said professor Mário Pimenta regarding the recently approved strategy for Particle Physics. “This strategy is about the future, gives future generations a perspective and launches enormous technological challenges”, he stressed. The president of LIP highlighted the importance of the proton therapy center: “The Portuguese Network of Infrastructures for Proton Therapy and Advanced Technologies for Cancer Prevention and Treatment (ProtoTera) was created aiming to design the center and to provide training (human resources, research).

Inês Ochoa, researcher at Columbia University, explained some challenges of Physical Particles, namely how to keep exploring the energy frontier. José Antão, Industrial Liaison Officer (ILO) at National Innovation Agency (ANI), talked about the relationship between the Portuguese business community and CERN, pointing out some business potentials of this new strategy. João Seco, researcher at the German Cancer Research Center – DKFZ, explained the benefits of proton therapy highlighting the urgent need of having a proton therapy center in Portugal. “There is a very large number of cancer cases in Portugal. About 50% of these cases would benefit from proton therapy. “This therapy lowers the risk of side effects, which allows to concentrate and increase the treatment dose on the tumor, and also to improve the quality of life of patients”, says João Seco.

According to Fabiola Gianotti, director general of CERN, “this new strategy must be implemented in order to ensure Europe’s continued scientific and technological leadership”. “The implementation of this strategy must be done in strong collaboration with global partners”, she added.

Fabiola Gianotti highlighted “the balanced approach of CERN’s scientific community” and “the very good industrial relations”. Defining the new strategy as “visionary” and “ambitious”, “but also realistic and prudent”, Fabiola Gianotti reiterated that it will help build a bright future for “Particle Physics at CERN and in Europe, within the global context”. Europe will maintain a leading role in Particle Physics and in related cutting-edge technologies. “This new strategy will provide great opportunities for the EU Member States industries”.

The next session on the discussion of the European strategy for particle physics will take place in September, at Técnico – Alameda campus.