by Jean-Pierre Revol. Published: 26 August 2012

This year ALICE hosted a record number of summer students, 61 in total, coming from 27 countries (13 from Member States, 14 from Non-Member States).  The first students arrived mid-May and most will have left by the end of August. There are 17 female students, which is a significant number, but it could be improved.

Hosting so many students represents a large effort on behalf of the ALICE Collaboration. All of these students need a supervisor, who has to define a project for them and help them carry it through in a relatively short time. This effort is however worthwhile, because most of these students are so enthusiastic about their stay at CERN and their experience of research life, that they often decide to chose a professional field directly linked to what they learned at CERN. Some of them will do their master or doctoral studies in ALICE later on: a wonderful return for the work invested.


"This year ALICE hosted a record number of summer students, 61 in total, coming from 27 countries (13 from Member States, 14 from Non-Member States)."

Summer students are at CERN for approximately two months. In the morning, they are given lectures by some of the best physicists in the world and in the afternoon, they are working on experiments, for them to discover life as a researcher at CERN. In the evening, many of them pursue various social activities, which is not the least significant part of the programme. It gives them an opportunity to also discover other cultures, from all over the world.

 


On August 27, 24 of the ALICE summer students gathered with Jean-Pierre Revol, in front of one of the LHC dipole structures.

The summer student programme is among the best educational programmes you can imagine. It combines high-quality lectures with practice in many fields of research, all happening in a unique international environment.

The summer students are a fantastic mix of very different cultures and yet all of them share the same interest for what we are doing so well here at CERN over the years: particle physics. This is one of the rare occasions in the world when political, religious and cultural barriers are lowered so that young students can freely share their interest in science.


"The summer students are a fantastic mix of very different cultures and yet all of them share the same interest for what we are doing so well here at CERN over the years: particle physics."

The CERN summer student program bears similarities with the Olympic games, with two major differences: it is not a competition and it takes place each year, in the Geneva summer.

Comments

Major differences

Maybe still another difference - this "game" takes place always in the same place, namely at CERN. Being more serious, pure science in general is a powerful, unifying factor which is maybe not exploited sufficiently in the world.