by José Manuel Penín Ascariz. Published: 15 September 2014

My name is José Manuel Penín Ascariz and I´m studying Physics at the University of Santiago de Compostela. I finished my bachelor degree one month ago and I am planning to start a master degree at the same university in September. My area of interest is QCD and phenomenology. I heard about CERN's summer student programme at my university, when two former summer students gave a talk explaining how amazing the experience has been for them and encouraging us to participate. I was very excited about the idea of going to the biggest laboratory in the world for particle physics and thus I decided to apply.

My project focused on studying the possibilities of tagging jets produced by quarks and jets produced by gluons. I worked under the supervision of Leticia Cunqueiro Méndez. The idea behind this is to look for the optimal set of observables to tag quark and gluon jets in pp and then explore these same observables in a heavy ion background by applying new shape subtraction techniques. The main points of my project were, first of all to learn programming with C++, learn how to use ROOT, PYTHIA, Fastjet and ALIROOT together with multivariate statistical techniques. After that, I had to design simulations combining these tools to explore the quark and gluon tagging feasibility.

My experience is by far more interesting than I expected it to be. The project was very interesting and presented a good chance to learn the tools that will be useful in my future career. Apart from that, the rest of the experience of being at CERN is amazing. This is a wonderful place where people from many different cultures overcome their differences and work together in the exciting task of searching for the ultimate principles of nature.

I’ve enjoyed other activities outside CERN, such as playing football with other students, travelling to other places, going out to Geneva at night, going to have dinner in many different places, or visiting the city with some Spanish friends who came to visit me in July. I finished my final project while being here and I presented it by the end of July.

The thing I liked most from CERN? Everything! Although I will be here during twelve weeks, I wish my stay was longer and I hope to come back in the future or continue working on related topics.