Founded by renowned Romanian physicist Horia Hulubei in 1949, IFIN-HH has achieved many “firsts”, including designing the first electronic computer in the Soviet bloc in 1956. The institute includes the Centre for Inter-disciplinary Research and Applications based on Nuclear and Atomic Physics, which is ranked an official centre of excellence by the European Commission. With its involvement in ELI-NP, IFIN-HH is strengthening its role in European and global research.
The Horia Hulubei National Institute of Physics and Nuclear Engineering (IFIN-HH) leads Romania’s research efforts in these cutting-edge fields and oversees one of the three pillars of the EU’s high-profile Extreme Light Infrastructure (ELI) project. A cutting-edge Extreme Light Infrastructure – Nuclear Physics (ELI-NP) research facility is currently under construction in Magurele, near Bucharest. In February this year, the European Commission approved the second stage of the implementation of the ELI-NP.
ELI-NP is on track. Dr. Nicolae-Victor Zamfir, Director General, explains, “We are about halfway to implementation of ELI-NP. We started in January 2013 and we plan to finish in December 2018.” Dr. Nicolae-Victor Zamfir adds that this project involves four components: installing equipment, constructing the experimental set-ups, hiring around 200-250 qualified scientists and researchers, and completing civil construction of the new facility. In November 2015, ELI-NP/IFIN took a giant step forward when it celebrated finalizing the world’s first 10 PETA-watt laser by Thales Optronique France. Around 100 researchers, engineers and assistants have been hired, and Dr. Nicolae-Victor Zamfir hopes the project will be set up in the new building by June.
ELI-NP/IFIN is an EU-Romanian project with a very international perspective. As Dr. Nicolae-Victor Zamfir points out, “IFIN is a Romanian institute, the biggest in the country, but ELI-NP is a European centre. To make sure of the best results, we need the best people as well as the best equipment and technologies. We are assembling a highly-qualified, multinational team that includes many Romanians. Concerning our infrastructure, IFIN is one of the highest-rated institutes of its kind, and researchers come here from across the globe to work with IFIN’s nine-million-volt accelerator.”
IFIN welcomes the chance to partner with European institutions. Dr. Nicolae-Victor Zamfir says, “We place a high priority on transparency, and the Laser Valley project in Magurele offers outstanding opportunities.” Laser Valley, which includes Magurele Science Park, is designed to attract both research institutions and high-tech companies. Dr. Nicolae-Victor Zamfir concludes, “My team and I are very optimistic about the future and we value our global partners.”