by Tatiana Tothova. Published: 18 August 2014

The first time I heard about CERN was at high school, when the teacher of physics told me there is a summer students programme for physicists and computer scientists. At that moment I could only dream that one day I might be working at CERN. I went to study computer science and after spending some years I applied for this position.

My motivation was to learn more about the questions that scientists try to answer and also to get some working experience, but I did not really want to work in a company. This programme offers a nice compromise - something between school and work. During my studies a lot of people asked me why I am working so hard. Well, you can see that it was worth it.

I became part of the ALICE Experiment. I am working on the file system, especially communication with the file catalogue and the storage elements. My role is to re-implement all user commands for AliEn into the same system, but with different inside communication. While adding my small piece of work to this big puzzle, it is sometimes very hard to imagine and understand the whole structure. It is also hard to get help; try to find out something about 'AliEn' in Google and you will have a lot of fun.

Thanks to my time as a summer student I had the opportunity to explore the mysteries of CERN. I attended almost everything I could. The lectures were not always for non-physicists, but I learned many new things on high-energy physics. I was astonished by the complexity of the experiments we saw during our visits, which is the result of the collaboration of many people working together. But what I mostly liked were the workshops, because we could touch the real stuff with our own hands. Pretty different experience compared to the work done in front of a computer screen.

Apart from this there were many activities organized by the summer students. Cooking and dancing, parties and trips, performance after the lecture... Taking it all into account, it was a summer full of new experiences that I had not even expected. It is unforgettable. I am proud that I could take part and I hope that my work here will be useful for other people.

Let's enjoy the last few weeks!