The Swiss Institute for Particle Physics (CHIPP) is an association according to Swiss law regrouping all the particle, astroparticle, and nuclear physicists holding a Master in physics and working for a Swiss institution, as well as the Swiss PhD nationals working at CERN.
Founded in 2003, CHIPP aims at strengthening in Switzerland three main pillars:
-Particle physics at the high-energy and intensity frontiers
This is achieved by:
- helping towards a successful participation of Swiss groups in international projects
- advising the Universities/ETHs on vacant professorships and academic strategies, and coordinate teaching activities
- ensuring a proper Swiss representation in relevant national and international bodies
- promote public awareness on particle, astroparticle and nuclear physics
CHIPP is organized as a two-level system:
the strategic level comprises the – the supreme body of the Association – and the , where all Professors active in particle, Astroparticle and nuclear physics assemble. Several subcommittees are dealing with specific issues: Outreach, Computing, CHIPP Prize.
The operational level, where the day-to-day business of the Association is handled by the .
Since 2003 the following CHIPP Board members have served as CHIPP Chairs: Allan Clark (2004/2005), André Rubbia (2006/2007), Ulrich Straumann (2008/2009), Martin Pohl (2010/2011), Klaus Kirch (2012/2013), Olivier Schneider (2014/2015), Tatsuya Nakada (2016/2019). Rainer Wallny took over the Chairmanship in January 2020.
The CHIPP Association is embedded the Swiss Civil Code and has given itself a set of , which have come into force on 26 January 2011, the day of the official ‘Gründungsversammlung’ required by Swiss Law.
Particle Physics explores the most fundamental laws of Nature:
what are the fundamental elements of matter?
what are the interactions between these constituents?
what are space and time?
Could it be that all phenomena taking place in the Universe could be derived from such basic laws?
All these questions are of fundamental nature and their answers are generally simple and unique. However, the process of answering to these fundamental questions is difficult, at the edge of technological achievements, and has a cost, for we are probing the frontier of our knowledge.
Experiments at the European Organization for Nuclear Research () and other international laboratories have established the validity of a theoretical framework for the interactions between fundamental particles. Still fundamental questions remain unanswered. Some, but certainly not all, of these questions will be answered at the Large Hadron Collider (). Other questions will require complementary experiments like for example in the field of neutrino physics and astroparticle physics. In addition, detector R&D will be necessary for potential future applications. In parallel, possible spin-offs will play an important role. The success of particle physics research in Switzerland is largely a result from the highly-qualified and innovative scientific and technical teams.
Another fundamental aspect of particle physics in Switzerland is represented by the high-level theoretical studies, such as phenomenology, fundamental theory, cosmology and astrophysics. A strong connection between theory and experiment is vital to the field.
Particle physics will have to continue attracting the best students by developing and promoting its attractiveness.