May 8, 2009

Austria Pulling Out Of CERN

Austria has plans to pull out of the international particle physics laboratory CERN, due to its share of high costs eating up too much of the country's budget for international research .

The European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) has invented a machine where particles collide under the French-Swiss border outside Geneva, which is suppose to make conditions that are like the origin of the universe, also known as the "Big Bang."

So far, the project has cost about $9 billion to build.  However, it had to be shut down in September only nine days after starting up due to technical difficulties.

Science Minister Johannes Han said late Thursday that Austria has been a member of the CERN since 1959, but plans to leave because about 70 percent of its budget for funding international research is tied up in it.

"In the meantime there have been diverse research projects in the European Union which offer a very large number of different scientists' perspectives," Hahn said in a statement.

About 2 percent of CERN's budget is from Austria's contribution.  It is the first country that is going to leave the project since Spain left in 1969.  Spain rejoined later though in 1983.

"CERN would be sorry to lose Austria as one of its member states and sincerely believes that it would be in Austria's best interests to remain a member," the organization said in a statement.

The collider is expected to begin working again in September, and will start reporting results in 2010.


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