by Qurat ul ain. Published: 31 August 2015

I am a student of MS Physics from COMSATS Institute of Information Technology, Islamabad, Pakistan and have been privileged to visit CERN as a summer student this year. 

CERN fascinated me since the moment I heard about it. The idea of huge tunnels 100 meters under ground, accelerating particles near the speed of light and keeping the magnets at such low temperature was all like fantasy to me. But when I arrived at CERN, it did not take me long to realize that I am at one of the best place for discoveries. The alleys named after great Nobel laureates, reminds me about their hard work and dedication for the progress of science.

Summer lectures were really an extraordinary experience for me. The experts from various fields described their respective subjects in a manner that was unforgettable. Being a theoretical physicist, I not only learned about my field but about many other areas including detectors and computing. The lectures from computing side were very interesting, particularly enjoyed a lecture “From Raw Data to Physics results” where I came to know about different steps used to get physics results from collision data.

The school provided an opportunity to do research with world's renowned scientists. I was assigned to a group working on ALICE ITS upgrade. Though I did not have much background on analysis but still I learned a lot under the supervision of Paolo Martinengo and Cristina Bedda who were always there to correct my mistakes.

Our group is working for the characterization of silicon pixel sensors. Lot of prototypes are developed like pAlpide 1 and pAlpide 2. My project was to Investigate the Circular Clusters observed in pAlpide- 2 chips. Circular Clusters are empty core clusters with central pixels under threshold . I used EUTELESCOPE and Root for analysis of test beam data from pAlpide-2 and draw comparison between old pAlpide-1 and new pAlpide-2 data. Where EUTELESCOPE is the software developed to analyze data from test beam activities and reconstruct clusters and tracks in different sensors. It was so interesting that even though I am done with my project still I would love to continue working on it.

Workshops and visits to labs were also part of this summer school. Among these, I particularly enjoyed the visit to SM 18 which is a facility for testing magnets at very low temperatures and high currents. Anti-gravity lab was one of the most amazing place I visited. Apart from technical side CERN provides a very good social atmosphere where we meet people from all around the world. There are so many clubs for recreational activities which really freshen up ones mind.

Some memories are cherished for lifetime, this was my most favorite memory. From busy lectures and project assignments, I still managed to visit the famous places, hiking, festivals, and paying visit to mesmerizing Europe with my new friends. In short, this made my dreams fulfill. I would love to come again at CERN for my PhD. research and play my part in the field of science.