UK News from CERN Issue 67

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Issue 67 contents

Crossroads

Life after physics

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Physics is like most careers; the more senior you become, the fewer positions are available.

On the night shift

On the night shift

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Not many work experience placements end up with a student working until 04:30

Youngest ever Grid user

Youngest ever Grid user

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A UK school student has become the youngest person ever to be given access to computational power of the Grid.

ALICE

TOT engineer triumphs

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A young engineer has been recognised for a ground breaking tool that is helping CERN.


 

Life after physics

CERN Control Centre

Careers decisions.
(Credit: CERN)

Physics is like most careers; the more senior you become, the fewer positions are available.  Of course not everyone wants to pursue a lifetime career in research, but when your passion for a subject has taken you down a particular academic route, it isn’t always obvious how your skills and capabilities can be transferred into other professions.

Recognising this, senior members of the ATLAS and CMS experiments got together to arrange a career networking event at which former members of the LHC collaborations now working in a diverse range of industry sectors returned to CERN to share their advice and experiences.

Enthusiasm for the event exceeded expectation and soon all four LHC experiments were involved, and the event was a sell-out.

Whether it’s looking for patterns in noisy data sets for hedge funds, developing a spam policy for Google, protecting intellectual property or leading emission testing for Jaguar Land Rover, there are clearly lots of fulfilling career opportunities for former physicists.

Third year PhD student Giulio Dujany (Manchester and LHCb) was one of those who took part in the event, “Even if I love what I am doing now, I am aware that the majority of current PhD students in high energy physics will leave academia sooner or later, so it was very interesting to see what I might find myself doing in five or ten years.  It was very interesting to hear the experience of people that were once in my situation; when they decided to change, why, how did they prepare.”

This viewpoint was echoed by Adam Elwood (Imperial and CMS), also in the third year of his PhD, “When working in science it’s very easy to become so focused on the work and the world of physics that you forget what other interesting things are going on outside. I therefore wanted to get a feeling of the other opportunities that are available with the skill-sets developed through working at CERN. 

“It was interesting to hear what people outside High Energy Physics considered to be ‘strengths’ of candidates; particularly the fact that particle physicists have to understand data that are collected by other people, not necessarily themselves; it sets us apart from other people with PhDs in science research.”

With such enthusiastic feedback, this event is certain to become a regular feature in the CERN calendar.

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On the night shift

On the night shift

Anna, Eleanor and CMS supervisor Dave Barney
(Credit: CMS/CERN)

Not many work experience placements end up with a student working until 04:30, but this one did. UK students Anna Wilson and Eleanor Harris have blogged about their time at CERN in Cylindrical Onion, the CMS collaboration blog.

If this has whetted your appetite to do work experience at CERN, take a look at some essential do’s (and don’ts) for a successful application.

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Youngest ever Grid user

The Grid

The Grid
(Credit: Robert Hradil/CERN)

A UK school student has become the youngest person ever to be given access to computational power of the Grid.

Cal Hewitt, a student at the Simon Langton Grammar School for Boys, is the Project leader for LUCID and was granted his Grid certificate at the age of 16.

The certification, a ‘passport’ that allows Cal to access the global network of super computers, is essential to enable him to analyse data from LUCID.  Since the launch of the satellite, Cal and his fellow students have been optimising the detector settings.  With data starting to stream back to the school, being able to access the same computing resources that are available to LHC experiments will be essential for analysing cosmic ray and radiation measurements.

You can read a longer version of this story in Science Node

Cal, typing in his password at the local grid authority.

Cal, typing in his password at the local grid authority.
(Credit: Cal Hewitt/SLGS)

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TOT engineer triumphs

Celebration

A young engineer has been recognised for a ground breaking tool that is helping CERN identify the optimum location for a possible successor to the LHC.

In UKNFC 55 we introduced you to TOT (Tunnel Optimisation Tool) an interactive 3-d software planning package developed by UK engineers, Arup.

We’re pleased to report that Arup engineer, Yung Loo who has been leading Arup’s work with CERN on TOT has recently received the prestigious Glossop Award from the Geological Society of London’s Engineering Group.

The award recognises outstanding achievement in young engineers.

Congratulations!

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