CERN Accelerating science

Yens Killian Elskens

A few months ago I received an e-mail from someone I didn't know, who later turned out to be form the CERN HR department. I was in a hurry so I didn't read the subject and just opened it (as I was reminded here at CERN, generally this is not a good idea, but luckily it was not a phishing mail). The e-mail started with: "Congratulations!". "Great, this is probably some kind of spam telling me I won a trip to Florida or something", was my first thought. But when I read on, it became clear to me that it was in fact from the HR department at CERN and that, against all odds, I was selected to be part of the Summer Student programme. I couldn't believe it... literally I was convinced that I was about to get an e-mail from CERN telling me they made some kind of mistake. Fortunately, this e-mail never reached my inbox, and I was officially a 2019 Summer Student.

On the 29th of June I said goodbye to my parents and loved ones and took a flight from Brussels to Geneva, such that I could start my adventure on the 1st of July. From that first day on, I befriended people whom I would spend many evenings playing cards with, while eating "do-it-yourself-popcorn" from Carrefour and singing loudly along with cheap pop-songs. Apart from the amazing people I met here (to whom I unfortunately will have to say goodbye to soon), my project was an amazing learning experience. I studied the efficiency of possible upgrades for a new trigger for the measurement of the weak mixing angle with the ATLAS detector. I even got to present my project at the Student Sessions!

Just like my stay here, my project is slowly coming to an end. In a couple of weeks I will have to leave CERN and say goodbye to people who have become very good friends over the Summer. From now on, every time I'll here Shakira's "Hips don't lie", "I want it that way" by the Backstreet Boys or "Wannabe" by the Spice Girls, I will nostalgically look back at my stay here and the wonderful people I met...