Your Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen.
Being the first up here today is slightly daunting, but the first thing to say is to congratulate CERN on its 60th Anniversary. The second is to ask the rather odd question: what has CERN done in the last sixty years?
I see annually most, if not all, of our Royal Society’s Research funds when they have been awarded. There are a large number of physicists in this group and I would contend that their motivation and inspiration springs from the exciting and fascinating science that is, and has been, going on here for the past sixty years.
The early years saw ambitious scientific challenges laid down by some of the world’s greatest minds. But with science and scientists, needs to go an engineer. And that engineer turns those ideas into an experiment, and eventually some sort of product. And they too were challenged by the requirements of the precision that CERN needs.
So, the conjoining of science and engineering has been pioneered and continuously innovated here at CERN.
Now, I can claim no knowledge about cutting edge scientific discovery, but I listen and I learn and my focus is on developing our next generation to recognise that science and all its components and allied activity is one of the bases of most of our future prosperity. You only have to look at how the World Wide Web has changed the way that most business and commerce is conducted globally.
Alongside the scientists and the engineers, there are a huge number of other people that have contributed to the success of CERN and these people and the staff who have worked together from many, many different countries have brought inspiring science to the everyday.
Visionary leadership and a determination to maintain scientific excellence has been the bedrock of CERNs success.
Turning to the future for one moment, CERN demands and requires tough challenges to stay ahead of the competition. So too, do the engineers providing the equipment. Components are now requiring precision engineering at the forefront of technology. This symbiotic relationship will continue to be at the cutting edge of science around the world.
Then we must look forward also to translation. This is always a tricky subject for discovery scientists. The translation of your discoveries into products or services is how the world will continue to change. And finding the right people to translate the scientific discoveries is just as important as doing the right science.
And lastly I would want to exhort you to continue to do “inspiring science” – and particularly the public engagement with schools and universities. You have inspired many but I know you will continue to inspire many more in the future.
I know that the British contribution to CERN has been considerable and is well respected. I know that it is the intention that our contribution will be as enduring in the future and our commitment to CERN and science will be undiminished.
And I also know that the United Kingdom will continue to advance scientific excellence at CERN in the future, as it has done over the last sixty years.
Inspiring young people and inspiring science is a combination of visionary leadership and scientific excellence and innovation in engineering.
With a large mix of people working together as a team, from many different countries, to deliver the outstanding achievements you have done over the last sixty years and I congratulate you for one and urge you to continue in that spirit and inspire us all to a greater understanding of the universe and everything.
Geneva, 29th September 2014
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