New Zealand Permanent Mission Geneva, Switzerland

Sir Peter Gluckman, Chief Science Adviser to the NZ Prime Minister, visits Geneva

Left to right: Rolf Heuer, Director General of CERN; Sir Peter Gluckman; Rüdiger Voss, Head of International Relations

Sir Peter Gluckman,  Chief Science Adviser to the Prime Minister of New Zealand, during his visit to Geneva, attended a lunch and panel discussion, co-hosted by New Zealand Ambassador Ellis and Senegalese Ambassador Fodé at the New Zealand Permanent Mission on October 22, for more than 20 African Permanent Representatives.

The panel discussion that followed the lunch was entitled “Advancing Agricultural Development through Science, Research, Practical Partnerships and Trade”.  Sir Peter Gluckman was one of the distinguished speakers that discussed ways to improve development outcomes through agricultural production, trade, research, public-private partnerships and educational exchanges. The other speakers were Dr. Tesfai Tecle, Special Adviser to Kofi Annan and Chairman of the Board of AGRA – Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa, and H.E. John Adank, Chair of the Agriculture Committee of the WTO and New Zealand Permanent Representative to the WTO.

After the panel discussion, Sir Peter Gluckman, accompanied by Ambassador Amanda Ellis and other New Zealand Mission Staff visited CERN (European Organization for Nuclear Research), where they were welcomed by Rolf Heuer, CERN Director-General and Rüdiger Voss, CERN Head of International Relations.

CERN, based in Geneva, Switzerland, operates a network of six accelerators and a decelerator, with most of its activities centered on the US10 billion large Hadron Collider (LHC), the world’s largest and most powerful particle accelerator, located 100 meters underground in a circular 27 km tunnel. The guided tour included the CMS (Compact Muon Solenoid), one of the two large general-purpose particle physics detectors. The CMS, which is 25 meters long, 15 meters in diameter and weighs 12,500 tons, is used to investigate the Higgs boson, extra dimension and particles that make up dark matter. On the 4 July 2012, the CMS, along with Atlas (A Toroidial LHC Apparatus) discovered an unknown boson. CERN was to confirm, on the 14 March 2013, that further research strongly indicated that this unknown boson is the Higgs boson, popularly nicknamed the “God Particle”.

Professor Peter Higgs, from the UK, and Francois Englert from Belgium, on the 8th October 2013 were awarded jointly the Nobel Prize for Physics for their work on the theory of the Higgs boson.

The official citation read: "For the theoretical discovery of a mechanism that contributes to our understanding of the origin of mass of subatomic particles, and which recently was confirmed through the discovery of the predicted fundamental particle, by the Atlas and CMS experiments at CERN's Large Hadron Collider".

The New Zealand Universities of Canterbury and of Otago are collaborating with CERN, through the MARS Project to develop a  spectral molecular imaging scanner. The scanner, incorporating the Medipix chip, developed at CERN, will be the world’s first spectroscopic CT scanner, with the potential to advance the diagnosis and treatment of major health diseases.

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