Dear Mr. Borisov

In 1997 a European-wide network of scientists working at CERN, the European Laboratory for Particle Physics, was formed, whose aim was to share information in order to demonstrate to the public, high schools etc. the importance of fundamental research for the continued development of mankind. Representatives from all CERN member states - including of course Bulgaria - joined together and formed "EPPOG" - the European Particle Physics Outreach Group. EPPOG has evolved from a discussion forum to a leading player in fundamental science education and outreach. One of its initiatives has been the organization, for the past six years, of "International Particle Physics Masterclasses", where high school students visit local Universities and experience life a scientist for a day. The 6000 students who took part this year all gained a better insight into science and are more keen to pursue scientific careers. Unfortunately Bulgaria has never joined these events due to a lack of funding - even though the funds required are rather small. In contrast, many non-European countries, such as Brazil and South Africa have joined this initiative, with others likely to join in 2011. Young people appreciate the benefits science brings to themselves and to mankind as a whole.

The reason for the existence of EPPOG and the associated initiatives is that most countries appreciate fully that sustained economic growth stems from a healthy education system at all levels - from primary schools through to university and beyond. Fundamental research provides the structure upon which the best minds can focus, mentor students and provide a basis for applied research. This obviously leads to technological innovations and industrial advances that clearly benefit economies, particularly in the long term.

In these times of worldwide financial difficulty it is easy, but ultimately short-sighted and flawed, to cut budgets associated to science and, in particular, to research institutions. It is with sadness that we learned of the Bulgarian government plans to cut the budget drastically for the main national research institutions, likely causing an irreversible degradation to Bulgarian scientific education and culture, thus loosening one of the foundations of the economy.

As representatives of EPPOG, and thus by extension many European and International states, we urge you to reconsider this initiative and rather to continue to support Bulgarian science and research. The long term future of your nation depends on this.


Dr. David Barney, CERN, Geneva, Switzerland (EPPOG co-chair)
Prof. Michael Kobel, University of Dresden, Germany (EPPOG co-chair)
on behalf of the European Particle Physics Outreach Group