Saturday, August 16, 2014

Live blogging the Forum Outreach Day

We are live blogging the Forum Outreach Day! See here for the official agenda and talks as you follow along:

14:00 Students and officials assemble in the conference room. There is excitement in the air and many good conversation beginning already. Representatives from CERN and Fermilab are speaking along with representatives from the UCAD digital library project and distinguished Senegalese professors.

14:20 Prof. Oumar Ka welcomes our distinguished panel - Sectrary General of ITU Touré, Educational Outreach Coordinator for CERN Dr. Landua. Prof. Wague

14:30 Warm opening remarks from Dr. Touré to our “distinguished students”. ITU, the oldest UN organization, sponsored 10 students for this year’s school from LDC - 5 women and 5 men, and Dr. Touré gives an inspiring message to all of us. “You cannot meet the Millennium Development goals in commerce and education without the internet and e-jobs.” Dr. Wague was Dr. Touré’s mentor - Africans teaching Africans. We need IT to help with everything from food distribution to research and development. “Even the sky is not the limit”.  He encourages the alumni of this program to in turn mentor the next students coming up so that we can grow the network and all grow.

14:45 Our bilingual conference continues with the head of telecommunications from UCAD giving encouraging words on the importance of applications of science.

14:50 Christine Darve, one of the founders of ASP, speaks about the mission of the school to use LHC physics as an example for African scientists to anticipate the future of physics. Christine, along with John Ellis, Ketevi Assamagan, Bobby Achymanga, and Steve Muanza, started the school in 2010 in South Africa with initially 15 institutes giving support which as grown considerably over the years. Financial support is provided in full to 50-60 students each year. We take students from a broad base of education levels and backgrounds, with the largest group coming from a Theoretical Particle Physics background. Beyond the classroom, the students are encouraged to network, are provided additional education materials, and are given the chance to present their research work

The Forum Day works to connect the students to the policy makers.

15:05 Ketevi thanks Christine and commends the work of the organizing committees in edition to their teaching and research responsibilities. We use our sponsors’ support mainly for the students and ask the lecturer’s to find their own funding, and he encourages everyone that has participated to give feedback to better target and form the school to reach our goals of educating students in HEP and nuclear physics. Our students are a select group out of 328 applications received.

He then welcomed our 10 ITU supported students to meet with Touré (9 are from LDC’s):
5 male students: Ouedraogo (Burkina Faso), Nounahon (Benin), Sashingwa Burundi, Worku Ethiopia, and Amouzouvi (Togo)
5 female students: Sarki (Nigeria), Rasoarijafy (Madagascar), Amadou (Niger), Abimana (Rwanda), Yousif (Sudan)

The dedication organization committee was recognized with a loud round of applause.

15:20 Eric Guedebe introduces the digital library project, starting as a joint venture of CERN and UNESCO and evolving to a CERN-ADLSN (African Digital Library Support Network) project

Had schools in Rwanda 2009, Morocco 2010, Senegal 2011, and school initiated in Ghana in 2012 rescheduled to 2015.

CERN provides technical assistance and knowledge, ADLSN provides local support and partners.

8 countries hosting library access together. Document server has +18,900 records.

The digital library attracts visitors from all over the world, but especially Africa. Most users get correct info within 3-4 clicks. 

Can find a video demonstrating what the software can do at

15:45 I give my talk on DOSAR, OSG, and the Grid. Sign up for DOSAR news and meetings at

16:05 Dr. Landau on CERN and Education, and how CERN works to get together the general public, teachers and students.

CERN engages the public with nearly 100,000 visitors a year on guided tours of the old synchrotron, the computing center, and the control rooms. There is also a permanent exhibition in the Globe called “Universe of Particles”.

CERN tries to reach all students - but this is an impossible task. So CERN is active in training teachers as ambassadors. They are our “CERN role models” for their 13-15 year old students.

CERN trains 7,000 teachers a year from 77 countries - this includes 74 teachers from 13 countries in Africa: Morocco, Guinea Bissau, Ghana, Cameroon, Kenya, Uganda, Angola, Mozambique, Rwanda, South Africa

CERN also hosts “Virtual Visits” via Google Hangouts with real CERN scientists, and they provide teaching materials for classrooms.

CERN also makes available great animations for a qualitative view into the work at CERN.

16:30 Short break before last presentation and discussion

16:50 Herman White representing Fermilab with a “Roadmap for Discoveries for Africa”

He will talk about specific examples of investments to make now to reap benefits in the future - the kinds of applied and basic research needed with an idea of the time needed for discoveries.

Applied problems are specific and well defined, such as extracting oil from shale. Can benefit from industry support.

Fundamental research does not have such a true focus but investigates the basic nature of our world. Benefits mostly from societal funding.

Discovery leads to an understanding of phenomena for the first time but often also leads to more questions. Can help make connections among different fields.

The long term benefits of fundamental research is that it drives future technologies, economic growth, and innovation that leads to prosperity.

In Europe, physics generated 15% of total turnover and 13% of overall employment. It showed a 38% return on investment with 1.3 billion Swiss Francs earned in ~20 years.

National labs are magnets for growth and capacity building. Suggest a structure like CERN and SESAME as a model fro intergovernmental projects in Africa. Can also use the US national lab model of aiming to take advantage of high density population area to choose a location within Africa for a lab.

The Web was created for international collaboration - so what may come out of collaborations in Africa? Two possible examples

A Free Electron Laser (FEL) from an accelerator light source at SLAC was used to study the parasite responsible for sleeping sickness which effects 60 million people in Africa.

The Square Kilometer Array (SKA) is a large scale facility in SA with remote stations throughout the continent in countries such as Namibia, Mozambique, Madagascar, and Ghana.

17:15 Discussion session opens

Discussion opens with Herman White’s talk

Prof. Wague speaks on the possibility for an African Light Source. The African Laser and Optical Physics Network includes extra-African members. Capacity building is only one part, but collaboration is also important. From this started the African Laser Center (ALC) in South Africa. Up until now, unfortunately, only South Africa has made a contribution to financial support. The African Physical Society and the African Optics, Photonics, and Material Society offer other possible places of support. 2015 is the International Year of Light; should push to have a workshop and come up with a plan for the African Light Source, but need support of governments. The African School of Physics is a good way of spreading the news of such a project through the student ambassadors for their home institutions.

Dr. Landau wants to support the importance of a large African project such as one involving an accelerator. It will build capacity just in the act of building the facility, and CERN would support such an effort with training.

Eric Guedebe wants to emphasize the role e-learning can play in helping to build expertise coupled with virtual reality labs, especially when you have limited resources. He asks which of the students have had the opportunity to go to a lab like CERN or Fermilab. Only 3 students raise their hands. So e-resources can provide opportunities students may not otherwise have.

18:15 Discussions session ends, and students, panelists, and lecturers head to the banquet and reception.

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