Van Gogh: A Dutch/French Original

PARIS--Science ministers from France and the Netherlands announced today that the two countries would embark on a $175 million program aimed at broadening cooperation between Dutch and French scientists. The announcement came at the opening in the Netherlands of a brand-new particle accelerator the two countries had built together.

The program, called Van Gogh, is "intended for young, promising researchers who would like to take part in new Dutch-French research projects,'' says Jaap Knol, a spokesperson for the Dutch Ministry of Education, Culture, and Science. The two countries will contribute equally to Van Gogh's budget, which beginning later this year will fund travel and living expenses of scientists from all disciplines from all kinds of labs--federal, private, and academic--who shuttle between France and the Netherlands for projects.

The new accelerator, called AGOR (Accélérateur Groningen Orsay), is one such effort. AGOR, which the Dutch funded and the French built, was inaugurated at a ceremony held today at the Nuclear Accelerator Institute (KVI) in Groningen, the Netherlands. The $26 million machine--the first cyclotron in Europe equipped with superconducting magnets--will study vibrations in atomic nuclei, attempt to reconstruct nuclear reactions that occur in supernovae, and generate protons for use in cancer treatments, says KVI director Muhsin Harakeh.