The Higgs Boson and the Coronavirus (Basic Science after the Pandemic)#

Academie Europaea invites its members to attend the webinar on "The Higgs Boson and the Coronavirus (Basic Science after the Pandemic)".

The webinar is organized by Prof. Álvaro de Rújula, MAE, of CERN, Geneva, and the Institute of Theoretical Physics, Universidad Autónoma de Madrid (UAM). The webinar will be held on Thursday, June 4, 2020, at 4:00 pm CET.

More information on this webinar, including the link to the registration page, may be found at:


The weird title of this talk is meant to hide its more ponderous intention: to discuss with you the role that may be played, - once the current pandemic is more controlled - by “fundamental” research, the one that is primarily done for the sake of pure and basic knowledge, not for short-term economic spin-offs.

The Higgs boson is the latest of the elementary particles to have been discovered. Its average lifetime is so short that it is impossible to imagine something more useless in practice! And yet, its relation to Covid-19 is quite considerable. “The Higgs” was discovered at CERN, a laboratory on the Swiss-French border. One of many spin-offs of the fundamental research at CERN is the http, the universal computer-language that allows the WWW to function as it does.

After the pandemic, research funds will be redirected. Hopefully basic biology, genetics and medicine will receive a fair fraction the funds that they deserve. But what will be the fate of the budget of the rest of the basic, not-for-profit sciences? That is the question I would like you to consider, in broader terms than the ones included in this brief abstract.

Prof. Álvaro de Rújula#

Prof. De Rújula is one of the most important Theoretical Physicists in the world and since 1977 he has worked at CERN, the European Center for Nuclear Research, located in Geneva, Switzerland. He was born in Madrid in whose Complutense University he graduated and obtained his Ph.D. in physics. He has worked in Italy (ICTP, Trieste), France (IHES and Saclay, close to Paris), in the USA (Harvard and Boston Universities, MIT), at CERN (in diverse roles, from Summer Student to leader of the Theory Division) and in Madrid (Institute of Theoretical Physics of the Autónoma University).

De Rújula is amongst those who try to understand elementary particles and the fundamental forces between them, as well as how these entities have determined the evolution of the universe as a whole, from its very beginning.

In the 1970's he contributed to the consolidation of the Standard Model of particle physics, in particular to the study of “Quantum Chromo Dynamics”, charmed particles and their predicted masses. He has worked in many other fields, such as "X-raying" the earth with neutrinos, measuring their masses in the lab, searching for antimatter in the Universe, understanding cosmic rays and gamma-ray bursts, and the development of the sophisticated methods that contributed to the discovery of the Higgs boson. Dr. De Rújula, has recently published the book "Enjoy Our Universe, You Have No Other Choice" by Oxford University Press.

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