by Panos Charitos. Published: 20 August 2013

In 2014, ALICE received a number of summer studnets working in physics, computing and engineering as part of CERN's Summer Student Programme.

They have the unique opportunity to get a glimpse of the life at CERN by attending fascinating lectures, visiting the underground facilities and working in the experimental teams. In addition, besides developing their academic skills, the summer school experience will help the participants establish useful contacts with students and scientists from all over the world. Summer students may stay at CERN for a period ranging between eight weeks minimum and thirteen weeks maximum.

CERN Summer Students 2013

The organizers had prepared a rich and diverse programme of activities in order to offer the students an unforgettable experience. It includes lectures as well as hands on practice; therefore providing extensive scientific expertise. There were interesting lectures on a variety of subjects such as HEP, accelerators, detectors, cosmology, string theory and antimatter, delivered by some of the most eminent scientists. The lectures were followed by discussion sessions, organized in order to answer the students’ questions and explain important points.

In addition, the participants attend workshops on silicon sensors, data acquisition, scintillating crystals, cosmic particles etc. and work in the ALICE experiment. Moreover, a poster session took place, where students were able to present their work in the form of a poster. There was space for 20 posters, which will be exhibited at the Mezzanine of the Main Building. The students also had the chance to deliver a 10 minute lecture on their work project in the Auditorium, which was filmed and made available online. Finally, every participant is expected to produce a report, describing their experience of their project work at CERN. These reports will then be used to evaluate and improve the Programme.

However, the CERN Summer Students Programme does not only focus on science. Special emphasis is put on promoting social interaction among the students. They constantly collaborate and socialize with many different people in a multicultural, multidisciplinary environment, building up valuable contacts within the scientific community and exploring different cultures and schools of thought. In addition, there is a rich variety of recreational activities offered at CERN and nearby locations. The students can join any of the CERN clubs that is relevant to their interests (photography, sports, dancing, music and many more). They also have the opportunity to visit museums and historical sites as well as attend music and film festivals in and around Geneva.

Finally, it is worth mentioning that previous summer schools have resulted in a remarkable success. In 2012 ALICE received 63 students from 27 countries, a record number. As former student Rabia Aslam remembers: “being a summer student at CERN was indeed an honour for me; an achievement I will always take pride in telling.” Indeed, many students are so enthusiastic about their experience at CERN that they often return for their post-graduate or doctoral studies.

Altogether, the CERN Summer Students Programme has been very successful, thanks to the hard work of the organizers, the lecturers and the supervisors. However, the driving force behind it has been and continues to be the dedication and passion of the students.