by Polly Bennett. Published: 22 June 2012

On 1st March the Rector of the Suranaree University of Technology (SUT) presented the ALICE photography book, One Millionth of a Second After the Big Bang, to Her Royal Highness Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn of Thailand. The Rector offered the book as a gift from ALICE, with the hope to strengthen ties between Her Royal Highness and the experiment.

Chinorat Kobdaj

The Rector presented the Princess with the ALICE book in Bangkok

SUT recently became an Associate Member of ALICE and is one of the first Thai universities to work with CERN. Founded in the early 1990s, SUT first became involved with ALICE through an initiative called the ‘Thai-CERN Collaboration’. This was set up by HRH Princess Sirindhorn several years ago. Dr. Chinorat Kobdaj, Head of Physics at SUT, is immensely proud of her involvement, “Our princess takes a lot of interest in science and puts great effort into promoting science in Thailand. She has visited CERN four times.” Chinorat explains that her initiative, with its promises of much support, encouraged scientists and institutes interested in working with CERN to sign up and initiate projects. “As my group studies hadron physics we wanted to join ALICE, where we will study heavy flavour physics.”

In addition to contributing PhD students to ALICE projects, Chinorat’s main aim is to set up a grid site at SUT, extending the global computer network used for analysing data to south-east Asia. “If I can set up a grid site then people can come here to work. We can hold CERN schools, from which the whole community can benefit.”

In early February the Rector visited ALICE to sign the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU), between SUT and ALICE, with Spokesperson Paolo Giubellino. The Rector and Chinorat also spoke with ALICE’s Federico Carminati and Latchezar Betev to discuss the details and technicalities of setting up an ALICE Tier 2 Computing Site at SUT.

In an effort to increase their activity with the rest of the high energy physics world SUT hosted the 2nd CERN School Thailand, with ALICE members Federico Antinori and Karel Safarik as speakers, at the end of April. SUT also hosted the 13th PANDA Grid Workshop and 3rd AliEn Developers Week in May.