by Ian Randall. Published: 10 June 2011

This issue, ALICE Matters met with Anna Widmann – an international business intern from Germany who is working on a public relations project with ALICE, and a web design project for the finance department.

Anna Widmann

ALICE's Anna Widmann

Hello, Anna. So, how long have you been at CERN?

I arrived at the beginning of May, and I am here for three months; so, until the end of July.

...and what are you working on here?

I'm doing an internship, preparing myself for my bachelor’s degree. I want to study international business, and this is so that I have some experience in this direction.

My first project is to create fact sheets and presentations for each member state in ALICE, for the VIP visitors - like ministers, or other representatives - so that they can easily see how many institutes they contribute, how much money they put into the project, etc.

My second project is with the finance department. There I am working with a woman from purchasing, to create a webpage with the purchasing rules for the physicists, in an easy way to understand.

How are the fact sheets going?

Well, it's a lot of work, because you have to start out with lots of data: the contribution, how many people are working, how many physicists there are... you have to be really careful with the information because you have many numbers and you have to present them in the best way, so that your representatives think: 'OK, we are contributing in a good way, and we want to keep doing that in the future, too'.

For a large country, you have to present certain numbers, and for a small country, you might have to search for some other information.

So, you have different templates for different countries?


How many countries are you dealing with?


How many big countries and how many small countries are there?

I think the really big countries are France, Germany, Italy, Russia and India. I think all the others are smaller countries - but it's difficult to sort them into ‘small’ or ‘big’. You have to find a different way to present each country.

This is the difficult part of my work at the moment, I think; making the information as good as possible for each country.

So, when will they be ready?

That's a good question! I hope within my three months here, because this is my project and I have to finish it!

What is the most interesting thing you have learnt about ALICE through this project?

It is interesting to learn something about the countries themselves; for instance, for India, I’ve learnt something about the geography, where the institutes are located.

What I am not doing right now, but I think it will be really interesting, will be to communicate with all of the team leaders from each country - because we prepare these presentations, and then we send them to the team leaders of each country so that they can add some information, or some pictures.

I think that it is really interesting to communicate with so many different types of people.

Tell us about your other project, with the finance department.

It's on procurement. They have so many different rules for their purchasing... and many different cases, and this information should be on a webpage - so that the physicists know ‘ok, so I want to buy these things, and I have to do it like this.’, - so that finance doesn’t have to answer the same question four times a day. They will be able to say ‘take a look on our webpage', and there the information will be easy to understand.

Is the webpage live?

No, not yet. I will start work on this next week - at the moment I am working only on the project with ALICE.

Are you enjoying it here?

Yes. It's really interesting; CERN is a great place to stay, because you meet a lot of young people from different countries - so it’s a very interesting experience for me.

Did you have an interest in particle physics before you came here?

Ah, not really, no. It's more this business administration thing.

What appeals to you about international business?

I want to study it because I can learn a foreign language; because the study is in English, and I'm from Germany. It is very good to improve your language. I can also learn a second language, which will be Spanish, so that's fine.

I also think that it is good if you don't only concentrate on one economical area, like Germany but if you do have a little bit of a wider look so that you are prepared for international work.