Geneva, 26 September 2008. Exactly 40 years ago today, the European Physical Society1 (EPS) was founded at CERN2 to promote physics in Europe. Today, the EPS represents over 100,000 physicists from 40 national member societies, thus reaching well beyond the geographical area covered by the European-Union. Maciej Kolwas, EPS President elect, stated that not only is physics the basis of much of today’s technology, it was indeed at the forefront of building a united Europe and remains an integral part of human culture.
Robert Aymar, Director General of CERN, spoke of the synergies between CERN and the EPS, both organizations sharing a common vision for European physics on the world stage.
Physics has played and continues to play an important part in the creation of cultural values and economic opportunities for Europe including mobile phones, digital cameras, MP3 players, the lap top and the GPS system, to name a few. These systems rely on the modern physics of quantum mechanics and relativity. Physics also plays a central role in issues, which challenge our societies – energy supply and climate change. We can measure and map the distribution of greenhouse pollutants as well as the location and extent of accretion zones on a global scale. Physics, moreover, provides new materials and techniques for saving energy and concepts for energy production and distribution.
Fundamental questions of our existence are addressed by physics and the future promises new chapters in our understanding of the universe, the start and ending of the cosmos, through experiments at CERN’s LHC, for example.
As pointed out by EPS President Fritz Wagner in concluding the press conference “2008 is an Olympic year. China won 51 and the USA 36 gold medals. Russia was ranked number 3, the UK number 4 and Germany number 5 with 23, 19 and 16 gold medals, respectively. However, all states within the geographical area covered by members of the European Physical Society won 130 gold medals – more than China and USA together. A unified Europe can compete. This is the same for other fields including science and technology. EPS is ready to play its role on the way of Europe to a knowledge-based society.”
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