Dear Director General, I thank you very much.
I am very glad to be here and to have the opportunity to meet a wide and qualified representation of Italian scientists and researchers, starting from Senator Professor Rubbia, Professor Zichichi, Professor Amaldi: I address my warmest greetings to all of you.
I quickly and partially visited some plants and machineries, which I admired despite my limited competences. Actually, as I said to Director Gianotti, those machineries are works of art besides being works of great scientific significance and value.
I thank you very much, Director Gianotti, for the description you just gave with such courtesy, but above all for the effective action you carry out at CERN’s service, conferring great prestige also to Italian science and to our Country as a whole.
Indeed, day after day, you carry out an essential function in this place which is so unique, so fascinating and much more than simply projected into our future, but already within it, as testified by the exhibition on the "Universe of Particles" that I just visited.
For more than half a century now, here at CERN, in the heart of Europe, intuitions have been tested and researches and experiments have taken form, all destined to deeply affect scientific and technological progress worldwide. Italy has traditionally played a leading role in this process, with dedication, intelligence and passion, which you all renew.
For an Italian, bearer of a tradition of extraordinary value, it really means a lot to work in this context, since it is an international centre of reference for research in Physics of elementary particles, established more than sixty years ago also owing to the work of Edoardo Amaldi. And this is something I can only appreciate, certainly not feel as you do.
I would like to express the Republic's appreciation for your work, and I am delighted to see many young people. This is a sign of a commitment that has renewed over time and that continues to measure itself against the intelligences and talents that converge at CERN from all over the world.
This spirit of openness, this passion, does not have only a scientific meaning, but also a social one and, I would like to add, even political.
In fact, the laboratory’s motto, "Science for Peace," clearly highlights the moral profile of the scientists’ role for humankind’s progress.
In this stimulating field, scientists from all over the world cooperate to achieve results that do not constitute the heritage of a single individual, or of a single Country, or of a block of Countries or of a continent, but they are the heritage of the entire humanity.
Everybody is well aware of the value and unifying meaning of the cooperation that takes place here, concretely, every day, in a period in which there is the worrying tendency to diverge at international level.
CERN's laboratories have testified truly universal discoveries, that have allowed to make fundamental steps forward in the understanding of the structure of matter, of the origin of the universe and of its evolution. Such progress has led to the development of inventions that not only affect our current daily lives, but will even more so affect those of the future generations.
The World Wide Web, developed here at CERN, constitutes an essential infrastructure that characterizes the post-industrial society, as well as the scientific and technological progress developed on the basis of the methodologies typical of the Fundamental Research in the field of diagnostics and health.
This path - which is a source of wellbeing, prosperity and progress - is also the result of your commitment which, I hope, may continue with the same intensity and openness and with the same spirit.
It is also owing to you that our Italy, whose identity and history have been rooted for thousands of years in science - as reminded, this year, by Leonardo’s 500th anniversary - continues to be among the most committed Countries in the scientific research.
The enthusiastic participation of the Italian scientific community in research activities, as well as in the fundamental activities of training and dissemination, constitutes a positive indicator of its attention toward innovation and the transmission of knowledge to young people.
These are very important contributions for the creation of a balanced, attentive, conscious and independent basic training, in an period in which reckless skepticisms, if not unacceptable oppositions, arise against the results offered by the scientific method.
The project "Science gateway," a structure dedicated to scientific dissemination, with the provision of areas dedicated to educational experiments even for non-experts, is in this sense of great interest.
I would like to express once again my warmest gratitude to each one of you - physicists, engineers, technicians, the whole community of users, coordinated by the National Institute of Nuclear Physics - as well as to all of you who hold positions of particular relevance within the Centre with great responsibility. I thank you for your passion, commitment and intelligent application with which you contribute toward progress and the development of Italy, Europe and the community worldwide.
Thank you for everything you do. My best wishes!