CERN Accelerating science

CERN Summer Student Programme 2016

by Nefeli Iliana Kousi

During the summer the EP department welcomed 230 summer students. They have participated in lectures covering a wide range of topics, and had the chance to visit different sites around CERN and learn more about the diversity of CERN's research programme. Additionally a project was assigned to each student, with subjects that span the entire spectrum of the department’s work. In this article we will dive into some of their experiences.

Pourya Vakilipourtakalou is a physics student in University of Tehran (UT). He has been thrilled to work at CERN, as it provided him with an environment full of learning opportunities. His project was Improvement of the ROOT Machine Learning Methods, in EP-SFT group and as implied by the title was in the realm of informatics. Understanding the importance of computing in physics research  he took up his project with enthusiasm. With the great coordination and availability demonstrated by his supervisors he managed to complete the project by parallelising some Machine learning methods of TMVA, a ROOT toolkit. When asked what he would take back home he talked about his introduction to advanced computer science, the diverse environment and unique experience he had at CERN.

Niharika Gajam is studying computers science in Institute of Technology, Indore in India. She is passionately pursuing her career in Machine learning, Neural Networks and Software Development. She combined those interest with hard work in order to provide a cloud-based approach to analyzing data files. The new approach will help scientists make use of newly developed technologies like SWAN. In addition to the technical training she acquired over the course of her internship and the great relationships she built with her supervisors and colleagues Niharika will take back home more important lessons. The experience of working and communicating her work in a diverse, international and highly scientific environment like CERN was a cherished experience for her future career.

Marek Matas is a masters graduate from Faculty of Nuclear Sciences and Physical Engineering in Prague, with a focus on QCD and evolution equations. Marek worked for the Future Circular Collider, that might be built in the next 30-40 years. He worked on the electromagnetic calorimeter where he was determining the influence of the magnetic field on the electromagnetic shower development. He learned a lot about how an international collaboration like CERN works and how he should approach his work and physics in general. When asked about his experience he answers: “It was an amazing opportunity to see how it is really done and how amazing machines that most people find miraculous come to life. I loved every second of my stay here. The friends I made is one of the most valuable things that I "take home”.”

Palmerina Gonzalez Izquierdo is a physics graduate from Cantabria, Santander, Spain. This summer just before finishing her studies she did a summer internship at CERN. The project was related to the search of the super-partner of the top quark. This is a particle predicted by the supersymmetry theory, which states that every particle has a super-partner, although not proved yet. The way of achieving this aim was analysing CMS data and using Monte Carlo simulations to search for stop quark pair production and apply different cuts and strategies to distinguish it from the background (mostly top quark pair production). The code to do this was written in C++ and ROOT. During this internship Palmerina improved her coding skills as well as her knowledge about particle physics and supersymmetry. Just like her peers Palmerina recognises another value in her experience: the experience of working in an international research centre. 

In conclusion this September has signalled the end of another successful year for the Summer Student Program at CERN. The experience will help the students to presume a bright career in science and promote greater global integration in particle physics, an important CERN policy.


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