by Virginia Greco. Published: 07 July 2017

The hot season arrived and with it many young faces wandering along CERN corridors…

The entrance to the CERN amphitheatre, where the summer student courses take place [Credits: Virginia Greco].

As every year in this period, summer students have just landed at CERN and are starting this privileged adventure, which will allow them to follow a programme of lectures covering a variety of subjects, as well as to put what they have learned into practice by working on a science project in such an enriching environment.

The ALICE experiment is welcoming 27 of this year’s summer students, who will work in different groups, followed each by a supervisor. Coming from many countries, both member and non-member states, most of them started their assignment in mid- or end of June, while a few more have just arrived.

The students, who have all completed at least three years of university courses and – according to the requirements - haven’t been working at CERN before for more than three months, were selected among over a thousand of applicants and assigned to different projects on the basis of their studies and topics of interest. The majority of them are future physicists, of course, but there are also many engineering and computer science students.

The period that the participants in the programme spend at CERN, which varies between 8 and 13 weeks, is not only an occasion for them to acquire expertise in their field and enlarge their professional network, but also the starting point of lifelong lasting friendships. The atmosphere among summer students is generally very positive and friendly, they organize social events and feel part of a common adventure. It is very refreshing to see young people coming from different countries and cultures mixing and sharing their passions, which puts forward some of the most important values of CERN: openness, diversity and collaboration.

During their stay, they will also be able to participate in a special event that this year gets to its third appointment: the CERN Summer (Student) Webfest. Those who will take this challenge will meet in groups over a weekend and put all their creativity and intelligence into developing science projects using open web technologies. The goal is to design web applications that encourage the general public to learn more about physics and the research carried out at CERN. Although primarily targeted at summer students, the event is open to staff and users as well and represents yet another occasion to socialize and put into practice scientific knowledge. The best projects will be awarded a prize.

Who would guess that CERN could be a fantastic summer camp?