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DOST-CERN Tie-up to Upgrade RP Physicist Education

LEGAZPI CITY, Jan. 29 - The Philippines through the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) and the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) have recently signed an Expression of Interest, a document that formalizes reciprocal scientific, technical and educational activities on the basis of reciprocity between the two institutions.

DOST Regional Director for Bicol Tomas Briñas said here the Expression of Interest is the first step towards furthering joint scientific researches, mentoring, and technical trainings to boost human capacity in the field of physics in the country.

The initiative opens opportunities for Filipino physicists to complete their postgraduate studies in European Universities participating in the CERN research program, Briñas said.

Moreover, vital summer programs and other training courses on physics and science education for Filipino teachers are also being organized.

The initiative, Briñas said will likewise facilitate linkages and possible project collaborations with other institutions and member nations. However, CERN clarified that the initiative does not touch on the nuclear power issues in the country.

CERN is one of the world's most respected scientific research centers, having the largest particle physics laboratory in the world. It is considered as the birthplace of the World Wide Web (www) through a project called ENQUIRE by Tim Berners-Lee in 1989 and Robert Cailliau in 1990. It also works to develop beneficial applications from nuclear energy to humans.

CERN Director Emmanuel Tsesmelis in a statement expressed his admiration for the University of the Philippines - National Institute of Physics and the Philippine Rice Research Institute (PhilRice). "People in UP are very much in tune with what we do at CERN," he said.

He also expressed his optimism that more Filipinos will work at CERN as researchers and scientists. Currently, there are about 2,500 scientists in 40 member countries that work at CERN. However, in the country, only a few are actively working as nuclear physicists. At PNRI, only two nuclear physicists remain at its facility in Quezon City. (PNA)