High-energy physics is a basic science, and as such does not propose generation of immediate applications for the knowledge acquired through research activities. However, this area has a long tradition of producing secondary benefits capable of inducing scientific and technological innovation in different branches of the society. Perhaps, the most notable example has been the development of the Internet, which was created at the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) that brought about one of the major revolutions in social, economic, and cultural life worldwide commencing at the end of the last century. Grid computing, which was also developed to meet experiment processing needs, is now widely used by academics worldwide and has expanded frontiers through cloud computing. Over the years, high-energy physics has demonstrated its impact on society in different ways.
On the one hand, it generates knowledge that leads to important scientific and technological advances. The design and implementation of a particle accelerator such as the large hadron collider at CERN and its detectors require the integrated work of various specialties such as mechanical, electrical, electronic and computer engineering, materials science, earth sciences as well as technologies related to superconductivity, cryogenics, ultra-high vacuum, and radiation detection. The new techniques and processes developed to build these instruments are employed later in other sectors, as in the case of magnetic resonance imagery, positron emission tomography, and oncological radiation therapy based on hadronic beams, for example.
Moreover, the training a physicist receives may lead to developing skills that can be incorporated into other sectors. Students are led to seek different approaches for solving new problems, gaining experience in management of large projects and learning to work in international teams. These characteristics, combined with an entrepreneurial spirit, can result in a paradigm shift in the training of technical staff when associating academic knowledge with the needs of the productive sector, causing a major impact on society.
The foundation will promote discussions and propose efficient means of transferring innovative technology to the production sector, bridging the gap between academia and business.