30 years of Poland at CERN

A message from the community of Polish scientists cooperating with CERN

Thirty years ago, on July 1, 1991, Poland gained the status of a full member of the European Organization for Nuclear Research CERN. CERN was founded in 1954 by 12 Western European countries to conduct fundamental research in physics solely for peaceful purposes. There, scientists explore the most basic laws of nature at the level of the smallest components of the structure of matter and their interactions. Located near Geneva, CERN's constantly expanded complex of accelerators and laboratories has been creating the most powerful research center on Earth since its inception. Polish scientists collaborated with him since the end of the 1950s. From 1963, Poland had the status of an observer country, but political considerations on our side prevented us from gaining full membership. It became possible only after the collapse of the communist bloc. The accession agreement was ratified in 1991 by President Lech Wałęsa.

"Polish research groups are currently part of international teams of all large experiments conducted at the Large Hadron Collider LHC and many smaller scientific projects related to, inter alia, with the study of the structure of nucleons and the study of antimatter, 'says professor Tadeusz Lesiak, representative of Polish scientists at the CERN Council. “Polish physicists-theoreticians who support experimenters with advanced calculations and develop new theoretical models trying to organize the picture of the world emerging from extensive experimental data are also a strong representation. Poles also took part in the creation of research equipment working in the center, and Polish computing centers are involved in collecting and processing data obtained in experiments."

About 550 Poles are currently associated with CERN, including about 80 people employed at CERN full-time, 170 people are various types of scholarship recipients and students from Poland, and the remaining 300 people are Polish CERN users employed in national institutions.

"The importance of cooperation with CERN for Polish science cannot be overestimated," argues Dr. Dariusz Drewniak, General Counsel in the Department of Innovation and Development at the Ministry of Education and Science, delegate of the Polish government to the CERN Council. “CERN has the most advanced research equipment in the world, the best minds work, ideas and technologies are born, and answers to the most fundamental questions about the laws of nature are found. Our scholars, our best students, must also be in such a place. Membership in CERN is also an opportunity for Polish companies for contracts related to the latest technologies. Over the past 30 years, many of them have taken advantage of this opportunity. Economic missions of companies interested in cooperation with CERN were also organized (the last one in 2019)."

Currently, about 10 Polish universities and research institutes cooperate with CERN on a regular basis, and several other entities cooperate to a lesser extent. Numerous groups of Polish physics teachers also went to CERN, and Polish students every year participate remotely in international workshops organized by CERN. Polish companies delivered goods and services, the value of which in the period of 30 years amounted to over half a billion zlotys.

Additional information

Research has been carried out at CERN, which resulted in discoveries awarded with several Nobel prizes. The most spectacular ones are related to the standard model of fundamental interactions: experimental confirmation of the hypotheses about the existence of W and Z bosons carrying electro-weak interactions and confirmation of the existence of the Higgs particle. At CERN, scientists have developed a number of technologies that have changed our everyday lives. The most important of these was the development of the information exchange protocols that underpin today's internet. CERN is financed by contributions from member states in proportion to their GDP. It also uses public procurement mechanisms to ensure that the financial structure of supplies from individual 23 member states is close to their percentage contribution to the budget.

More information on Polish participation in CERN research can be found on the occasional website pl30cern.ifj.edu.pl, prepared jointly by the Polish scientific community.


NCBJ research groups and scholars participate in experiments at the LHC - CMS, LHCb and ALICE - as well as the COMPASS, NA61 / Shine and GBAR experiments. They also take part in preparing new experiences. Centrum Informatyczne Świerk is a Tier2 computing node for the LHCb experiment, and is a candidate for the Tier1 role. NCBJ provided CERN with essential elements of the acceleration structures of the new Linac4 accelerator and the accelerator for the GBAR experiment. Our scientists participated in the preparation and implementation of the program of visits of Polish teachers to CERN and in the organization of international workshops for students.