Published: 13 October 2012

On 11 September, ALICE had the chance to host His Excellency, Mr Ivan Gašparovi?, President of the Slovak Republic, who visited CERN accompanied by the First Lady and a delegation of 67. This included the Deputy Prime Minister and the Minister of Foreign Affairs, the Minister of Economy and the Ambassadors of the Slovak Republic to Switzerland, France and the Office of the United Nations.



Figure 1. The President of the Slovak Republic, Ivan Gašparovi?, and CERN DG Rolf Heuer (center), together with First Lady Silvia Gašparovi?ová (left) and Karel Safarik, Physics and Computing Group Leader for the PH department's ALICE team (right)


The visit by representatives of the Slovak Republic follows the Slovak Republic’s hosting of the CERN Accelerator School in the region of Bratislava. After being welcomed to CERN in the morning by CERN Director-General Rolf Heuer, the President and the members of the Slovak government were given the opportunity to get a glimpse of the LHC and to visit the ALICE experiment at Point 2. Karel Safarik, ALICE senior physicist guided the Slovakia President at ALICE.



Figure 2. The President of the Slovak Republic, Ivan Gašparovi? together with First Lady Silvia Gašparovi?ováand during his visit to ALICE experiment at P2 guided by Karel Safarik, ALICE senior physicist, CERN DG Rolf Heuer and Paolo Giubellino, ALICE spokesperson


The President and other members of the Slovak delegation then met representatives of Slovak universities and industries at an exhibition of their work in the hall of Building 500. The President then briefly spoke to Slovak journalists and signed the VIP visitors’ book. The visit lasted two and a half hours. It ended with an exchange of presents and a last handshake and then it was time to go.



Figure 3. The President of the Slovak Republic, Ivan Gašparovi? and other members of the Slovak delegation met with representatives of Slovak universities and industries at an exhibition that was organized on the first floor of the main building at CERN


This event also marked twenty years of Slovakia at CERN, initially as part of Czechoslovakia, and since 1993 as an independent Member State. There is a long tradition of high-energy heavy-ion physics, starting with participation in the first generation of SPS heavy-ion experiments: NA34 (Helios) and WA85 (Omega spectrometer). Slovak physicists and technicians from Comenius University in Bratislava, Institute of Experimental Physics of Slovak Academy of Sciences and P.J. Šafárik University in Košice, and recently from the Technical University of Košice joined the ALICE collaboration. In addition, the Slovak industry took noticeably part in building the LHC, for example, the cryostats for the LHC short straight sections and the positioning automats for the LHC magnets were produced in the Slovak Republic.



Figure 4. The President of the Slovak Republic, Ivan Gašparovi? signs the book of impressions after his visit at CERN


ALICE MATTERS would like to thank the CERN Bulletin team for providing information for this article. Photographs are from the CERN CDS service. Special thanks to Antonella Del Rosso, Editor of the Bulletin