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Eyes onAntiprotons
July 29, 2011   
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A number of Polish universities and research institutions are preparing to join an international project as part of which a complex of accelerators making up the Facility for Antiproton and Ion Research (FAIR) will be built in Darmstadt, Germany over the next six years. The project is expected to cost more than 1 billion euros.

The facility will conduct research on various forms of matter by colliding antiprotons and ions in beams of high intensity. The research will involve conditions of extreme density and temperature, similar to those in evidence at various stages of the evolution of the universe. Also planned is practical research for the needs of the energy sector, medicine, future space missions and materials engineering.

Seventy-five percent of the funding for the FAIR project will come from German sources. The rest will be provided by several European countries, China and India, with a major part of it being supplies of research infrastructure.
Poland will contribute cryogenic apparatus worth almost 18 million euros, according to Prof. Tomasz Matulewicz, director of the Institute of Experimental Physics at the University of Warsaw Faculty of Physics.

A team from the Wroc³aw University of Technology is working on “the conceptual assumptions for the Polish contribution to the construction of FAIR accelerators,” Matulewicz said, adding that various Polish firms known for their hi-tech products will produce equipment for the project. Some of these firms have built installations for a CERN laboratory in Geneva, Matulewicz added.

A total of 2,500 scientists from 44 countries have taken part in preparing guidelines for the FAIR project. Ultimately, 3,000 or so researchers from across the world, including more than 100 from Poland, will be involved in work on FAIR experiments and data analysis.

Prof. Zbigniew Majka of the Faculty of Physics, Astronomy and Applied Computer Science at Jagiellonian University in Cracow, said, “Thanks to FAIR, Polish scientists will gain full access to a world-class laboratory, while Polish students, including doctoral students, will have an opportunity to collect research material for their theses there and gain experience.”

The Polish government has submitted to parliament a bill on ratifying a convention on the construction and operation of the Facility for Antiproton and Ion Research in Europe. The parliamentary committees for education and science and for foreign affairs have unanimously approved the bill.

Several countries have already ratified the FAIR convention, and others are expected to do so in the near future.
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