Brazil's science minister visits European XFEL and DESY
Brazil’s Minister of Science and Technology, Aloízio Mercadante, and his delegation seized the opportunity of a stay in Hanover on the occasion of the closing event of the German-Brazilian Year, to make a detour to Hamburg. Here, they discussed future collaborations and visited the two DESY facilities FLASH and PETRA III, and—as a highlight—the tunnel construction for the European XFEL facility.
The weather could have been a little bit warmer, but apart from that, all the participants were very satisfied with the programme and results of their Hamburg visit. The Brazilian Minister of Science and Technology, Aloízio Mercadante, was accompanied by the director of the Brazilian national synchrotron radiation laboratory (LNLS), José Roque da Silva, and further ministry and embassy members. On 5 April, Hamburg's science minister Dorothee Stapelfeldt invited the guests to a dinner in a restaurant near the Elbe river. The next day, the visit of the two research institutions took place. The morning featured not only short presentations of DESY’s research facilities and of the European XFEL X-ray laser, but also a summary of the German-Brazilian workshop on synchrotron radiation and free-electron lasers which took place in March in Campinas.
During the subsequent discussion, both sides emphasized their strong interest in future collaborations. “We are grateful to Minister Mercadante for his visit to the European XFEL and DESY, and for his interest in a collaboration with our project,” said Massimo Altarelli, managing director of the European XFEL GmbH. “The areas of research of particular common interest—like energy research, complex materials, nanotechnology, and structural biology—were discussed, and possible participation of Brazilian scientists in the development of the European XFEL was explored. It was agreed that contacts would continue, to arrive at the formulation of an agreement as a first step on the way to closer and closer collaboration.”
At the end of their visit, which lasted several hours, the guests visited the two DESY facilities FLASH and PETRA III, as well as the European XFEL tunnel construction site in Schenefeld. The many stairways in the building pit of the future experiment hall, in which everything is currently being prepared for the second launch of the tunnel boring machine AMELI, did not scare minister Mercadante and his delegation. They were all very interested and impressed by the progress of the construction work.
The German-Brazilian Year of Science, Technology, and Innovation (DBWTI) 2010/2011, which now came to an end, also provided the impetus for a workshop at LNLS in Campinas, South America’s only institute boasting a synchrotron radiation source. European XFEL and DESY scientists travelled to warm Brazil in March to report on the future European XFEL X-ray laser and the DESY facilities, and exchange experiences with their colleagues at the national synchrotron radiation source Laboratório Nacional de Luz Síncrotron (LNLS). This marked the beginning of intense discussions of possible collaborations between the two countries.