I was overjoyed and really honoured when I was invited to CERN for a summer internship. I am already starting to feel the excitement of this adventure, as I have never been outside of my country before.
I am studying for my bachelor’s degree in physics at the LUMS School of Science and Engineering, in Pakistan. I am currently in my third year. Physics has always been my love, and my passion; and how the LHC will unveil the mysteries of the universe is something which I am really interested in. To work at CERN is a dream come true.
Rabia AslamRabia Aslam, an ALICE summer student at CERN
On coming to CERN, the first thing I realised was that perhaps half of the world is represented here; you can find people from all around the globe - and all of them are really friendly, welcoming and nice. I think this is the best thing about CERN. I will be living in France during my stay here. Commuting between two countries to go to work is something I really enjoy and am telling everyone back home with great pride.
About my work here: I will be doing work in ALICE. My project revolves around the multiplicity dependence of K0 and lambda production in proton-proton collisions and lead-lead collisions. I will also be learning to use some new software - such as AliRoot, ROOT, PROOF, etc - for doing kinematic cut optimisation, background subtraction, peak fitting and other analysis work. Considering I do not have much of a programming background, I foresee myself having some real tough times with this – fortunately, though, my supervisors, Adam Jacholkowski and Jean-Pierre Revol, are really helpful and understanding.
Geneva is beautiful and summers are a great time for sightseeing. On the weekends I have been going around with other summer students. I really love the mountains, which I can even see from my room in St Genis-Pouilly. Recently, we went to the Jura Mountains and conquered Le Reculet, the second highest peak, at an altitude of 1718 meters. It’s fun to meet all the students from different corners of the world, learning about their cultures, languages and ways of life.
CERN is just incredible. I’ve only been here for two weeks and I already feel that I will miss this place when I leave. Yesterday we had our first lecture in the amphitheatre – an Introduction to CERN - followed by some really inspiring words from Rolf Heuer, the Director General of CERN. It was awesome, and my first contact with more than 250 summer students.
In the evening we had a social event, and we stayed there talking and getting to know each other for more than two hours. The lectures will continue throughout my stay, and there will be some visits to different accelerators and detectors later on - I am desperately looking forward to that. I simply hope to spend some of the best days of my life here.