By Abraham Villatoro
In a rapidly advancing world driven by technological breakthroughs, it is important to recognize the critical role that scientific research plays in shaping our daily lives. From unravelling the mysteries of the universe to bringing cutting-edge technologies to our fingertips, research institutions like CERN have been at the forefront of innovation.
As a former researcher at CERN, I have often encountered the question, ”Why does CERN spends so much money on that big machine?” It’s a valid concern, one that I would like to address with a personal experience. Being immersed in the world of particle physics, I witnessed firsthand the immense value that research brings to humanity.
I had the opportunity to work in one the four large experiments within the powerful Large Hadron Collider (LHC). This behemoth of a machine, spanning over 27 kilometers, may seem extravagant at first glance. However, its impact reaches far beyond the realm of particle physics.
One of the most striking examples of this impact is in medical advancements. The technologies developed at CERN’s accelerators have been instrumental in revolutionizing cancer treatment. I had the privilege of witnessing proton therapy in action, where high-energy beams precisely target tumors, minimizing damage to surrounding healthy tissues. This cutting-edge technique, made possible by accelerator technologies, has provided hope and improved the quality of life for countless patients battling cancer.
But it doesn’t stop there. The innovations coming from CERN’s research have entered other aspects of our lives as well. The World Wide Web, born out of a need for efficient collaboration between researchers, has transformed the way we communicate, gather information, and conduct business. The power of connectivity that we now hold in the palm of our hands owes its origins to the brilliant minds at CERN.
Additionally, CERN’s contributions to the field of electronics and data science have had a profound impact on various industries. The advancements in microchip technology and integrated circuits, driven by the necessity for more precise measurements and data processing, have revolutionized sectors such as telecommunications, automotive, and aerospace. From faster and more reliable communication networks to sophisticated navigation systems in vehicles, the influence of research can be seen in the innovative products and services that surround us.
When people question the significant investments made by CERN in its research, I would often share my personal experiences and the tangible impact of their work. As we think on the achievements of large research institutes, we must remember that the benefits extend far beyond the confines of research laboratories. Embracing the spirit of curiosity, exploration, and scientific inquiry allows us to push the boundaries of knowledge, technological innovations, and create a better future for all.
So, next time someone questions the financing of a ”big machine” like CERN-LHC, share the story of how the wonders of scientific research have revolutionized our world, how the technologies created for those scientific experiments directly impact our lives and how you can see the effect in the palm of your hand.
About the Autor:
Abraham Villatoro Tello is an electronic engineer with a PhD in Applied Physics. He did his postgraduate studies based at CERN working for the ALICE experiment. He specialized in electronics hardware design, instrumentation, embedded systems and software applications for data analysis.
Abraham has been working in Finland for the last 4 years, where he brought his experience in hardware development and advance sensor technologies to different companies creating new solutions in a wide range of applications.
For more information about Abraham Villatoro’s work, you can visit his LinkedIn profile.