CERN Accelerating science

Summer students 2019: A Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious experience

by Panos Charitos

Established in 1962, by CERN’s former Director General Victor Weisskopf, the laboratory’s summer students programme welcomed more than 300 undergraduates from all over the world to get a hands-on experience of CERN’s diverse activities. 

From physics research to software development and from R&D in novel technologies to knowledge transfer, summer students broaden their horizons in the inspiring international environment of CERN. Over the years, the summer student programme has flourished and this summer almost 300 students from 92 countries arrived at CERN. During the programme, they have the opportunity to attend a series of lectures from world-renowned experts on a wide range of topics reflecting the laboratory’s mission. Moreover, they work on a special project under the guidance and supervision of more senior researcher. Their results are presented in a number of occassions including dedicated workshops and a Summer Student poster session. 

The Member State Summer Student Programme is organized by CERN's HR team, while the Non-Member State component offers the opportunity to students from other countries to be part of this unique experience. The steadily increasing number of applications reflects the attractiveness of the programme worlwide. It should be noted that the development of the NMS Summer Students Programme is today an important part of CERN's policy to promote greater global integration in the field of particle physics and accelerator technologies. 

Being a summer student at CERN is not only about research experience and hard training in high-energy physics. It is also an exercise in openness and diversity. Over an intense training period that lasts from 8 to 13 weeks, students learn to appreciate different perspectives, values and ideas which are key elements for progressing in science but also in building a more open society. During their time at CERN, students have the chance to interact and make new friendships; Getting to grips with diversity and inclusion is a life-changing experience and a journey of personal development. 

It’s really hard to summarize the experiences that CERN’s summer students programme offers to its participants in an article and this is why following past year’s tradition we have developed an interactive map. Among them you can read about Arpon Paul’s unexpected encounters, Eissa Alnasrallah’s big questions, Ardiana’s Journey to CERN, Abdullatif Rashdan’s  unforgettable experience, Daniel Prelipcean’s vision for open science, Kyungseop Yoon’s account of the analogy between HEP and classical music, Laura Bruce’s journey to the land of the immeasurable and Piter Paye Mamami’s Supercalifragilisticoespialidoso experience. 

Though few weeks seems like a short time, CERN’s summer student programme is a transformative experience, equipping students for the rest of their academic and professional life. Take this opportunity and apply for next year’s summer student programme: