Romania was the best in this field

Physicist Gerard Mourou, winner of the Nobel Prize in 2018, said on Monday that he wanted the Extreme Light Infrastructure – Nuclear Physics (ELI-NP), the center in Măgurele where the most powerful laser in the world is located, to be built in his native country, but at the beginning of the project it was clear that Romania is the best in the field of nuclear physics.

Photo: The Truth Archive

Mourou participated in a meeting with the press at the international center for the highest level research in the field of lasers, near Bucharest.

My idea was to be in France“, he confessed and detailed that, at the beginning of the Extreme Light Infrastructure project, emerging countries were targeted to host research centers. The countries that remained in the project were Hungary – ELI Alps, Czech Republic – ELI Beamlines and Romania.

ELI-NP appeared when experts emphasized the need for a center dedicated to nuclear physics. “Romania was the best in this fieldMourou said.

The director of ELI-NP, Călin Alexandru Ur, explained that this center is the result of an investment of 320 million euros from the European Commission and the Government of Romania.

The laser system at ELI-NP is developed, installed and operated by Thales, which provides maintenance.

We have installed the lasers and we want to use them. We are a center that provides facilities for users, but at the same time we intend to develop the laser system. Because it is clear that we are now at the top, we have the most powerful laser in the world, 10 petawatts, but there are other countries that are now building lasers that will become more powerful than ours. So we have to maintain our position as leaders in the field in two ways. One – to develop expertise, because now we have the most powerful lasers, we know how to use them, we have two, we will learn to synchronize them so that they have even greater power and at the same time we have the prospect of technology development“, Ur explained. He mentioned the applications of nuclear physics in the medical, industrial, space exploration or energy fields.

Our mission is to practice science at the last frontier of knowledge. We have very strong technology and we need to make progress in the field of science. At the same time, we must be an inspiration for the young generation. We must return young people to science, because science, at present, seems to be left aside. We must convince young people that science is the most important human activity“, emphasized the director of ELI-NP.

Gerard Mourou won, in 2018, together with Donna Strickland, the Nobel Prize for Physics, for their discoveries in the field of lasers.

The expert believes that studies in the field will have medical use”relatively quickly“. “If we are talking about the creation of energy … it will take some time“, said the physicist. During his presentation, he also told about the meeting he and his colleague had with Pope Francis.

When you receive the Nobel Prize, you get to meet a lot of people. We kept thinking about what we could say to the Pope. In the end, I told him what I told you – everything you see here is for the good of society“, said Gerard Mourou.