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December 5, 2022

Romanian Academy protesting against the dismissal of Nicolae Zamfir as general director of the National Institute for Nuclear Physics

The Romanian Academy is protesting against the dismissal of Nicolae Zamfir as general director of the Horia Hulubei National Institute for Nuclear Physics and Engineering, claiming that the decision taken by the Ministry of Education endangers the completion of the high intensity laser project Extreme Light Infrastructure – Nuclear Physics (ELI-NP) at the institute.

In a letter protest to the Minister of Education, Monica Anisie, the Presidium of the Romanian Academy says that it has taken note with “deep disappointment” of the decision to dismiss Zamfir as director general of the institute, a decision they consider “unjustified”.

“The scientific career, the prestige and the results of academician Zamfir in leading IFIN-HH and the ELI-NP project are well known nationally and internationally. By virtue of the collaboration between the Romanian Academy and the Ministry of Education and Research, we would have expected a dialogue before taking such a serious decision. The Romanian Academy has already disavowed, through a point of view made public on May 21, 2020, the concerted actions to discredit Romania, the ELI-NP Centre and has drawn attention back then to the evidence of the existence of obscure interests the purpose of which lies outside the interests of Romanian and Romanian scientific research. The members of the Romanian Academy consider that the ELI-NP project is representative for placing Romania on the map of strong countries in the field of scientific research and technological development.”

In the opinion of the Romanian Academy, the dismissal of Zamfir is threatening to stymie the ascending evolution of the Romanian scientific research worldwide and endangers the completion of the ELI-NP project.

“The move in itself and the manner of dismissal by the minister of education and research of the director general of the Institute implementing the ELI-NP project are incomprehensible. In addition, they have broader connotations, representing a real threat to stymie the clearly ascending development of scientific research. The ELI-NP project means investments in state-of-the-art technologies, unique in the world and already put into operation; it means attracting the most qualified specialists from all over the world, capitalising on the Romanian intelligence at the highest level and, last but not least bringing back to Romania the young people who left precisely because of the lack of a high-performance research infrastructure. The dismissal of the management of the institute when the ELI-NP starts to be operational is threatening the completion of the project, with serious financial consequences and affecting Romania’s image. To the same extent, the unjustified gesture of this dismissal illustrates, unfortunately, the inability of decision-makers to act consistently and predictably and to show the world that Romania has the potential and capacity to be a partner with equal rights in at least one field of reference in the world: scientific research.”

The Presidium of the Romanian Academy believes that it is the duty of the highest science and culture forum of the country to publicly disapprove of such practices and to draw attention to the danger that a strategically unconsolidated administration contributes to destroying the field opened by ELI-NP.

According to Agerpres, the Romanian Academy is also sounding calling on the government to get involved in stopping such actions running “contrary” to the interests of Romania.

Photo: Facebook/ELI NP

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