CERN summer students at CMS

Being a summer student @CERN is an incredible experience and if you are part of the CMS experiment that adds an extra! Meet some of our guys!

Aamir Ali
Aamir AliHi everyone! I’m Aamir, a final year computer science student from UET Lahore, Pakistan. I’m enjoying my work on cyber security for CMS. My project is about hardening the security of CMSWEB. I’m doing some upgrades in security tools to use new technology to meet the latest security standards. But it is not just about getting some practical work experience, SUMMER STUDENT PROGRAM offers much more than that. As a computer science student, I’m getting to know how things go in top organisations.
The most hyped thing about this program “Meeting diversity of people from different cultures” used to seem normal to me but it isn’t. It’s so amazing talking to students from different cultures, getting to know about their fun stuff and especially listening to their life stories and experiences from their perspective. Another interesting thing to discuss with them is their projects at CERN which gives a whole insight into what exactly is happening at the world's largest Laboratory. In the evening, we play games from different cultures, that’s another amazing thing.
Now, I’m done with weekdays, lets’ talk about holidays. I knew Switzerland is a touristic place, but I wasn’t here with this idea. I saw lots of the summer students were going to explore different places on weekends, so I preferred to join them. I visited some top mountains, beautiful lakes and big cities of Switzerland. Even if you are a fan of mountain climbing, water sports, caving don’t worry, groups are doing that too.
Even in such a diverse environment, you can find people like you. I made some new friends and few of them have already started leaving. I’m going to miss time spent with them all and other things, movie nights, game shows, concerts, BBQ parties and sticker/meme fights.
And this is not the end, just the start of my career. To me, this is an amazing opportunity, above and beyond my expectations.

Aidan ChamberAidan Chambers
While working at CERN this summer, I’ve been amazed to find the perfect synthesis of all my interests both inside and outside of the lab. In the last few years of my university studies, I’ve narrowed down my research interests down to the intersection of high energy physics, experimental physics, and data science; and so on paper CERN was the perfect place to be and working with CMS has only confirmed these assumptions.
While this was not my first exposure to research of the areas above, it’s an entirely different experience to be in a place where one of the world’s leading experts in your field or the person who wrote all the code your project is built upon is down the hall, available and happy to answer any questions you might have.

Outside of research, I’ve been delighted to find that CERN operates less like a large office complex and more like a college campus or small town with a surprisingly vibrant social scene of students and faculty alike. I’ve been very grateful to the summer student program, which has placed me around hundreds of students from around the world who all share a mutual enthusiasm for physics, engineering, and science.
Many of the friends I’ve made in my time here have been equally excited to obsess about their research projects as they are to explore the newest music festival, make midnight runs to grab kebab downtown, or to take weekend trips to explore the surrounding countries Geneva is situated between. I’m incredibly appreciative of my time here this summer and I’m hoping this is the first but not the last time I’ll be at CERN.

Paula DesirePaula
Hi! I am Paula, a 22-year-old CMS summer student from Spain.  I have just finished my bachelor's in Physics and Mathematics.
Since I was a little kid I have been really interested in physics. In fact, I still remember the day in which the Higgs boson was discovered: I had no idea what was going on, but I got really curious and started to try to understand it. If someone had told me that 10 years later I was going to be working at CERN, I would have never believed it :)
The two months I have been here (still one left!) have been incredible. Seeing the start of Run3 with my own eyes is something I am never going to forget. In addition, I have been very lucky in my project: working together with other two summer students and five supervisors in an analysis work is an incredible opportunity to learn many things in my favourite field of particle physics.
However, this is just the academic part. I think that there are few places in which you can meet so many different people here, all of them with similar interests as you. We have visited a lot of places (Zurich, Interlaken, Lyon, Bern…), we have hiked and for sure, we have also partied ;) The only bad part of the whole program is that some of the students are already going back home.
To sum up, I am very grateful to be here. This is a unique experience, and I would recommend to anybody that has interest in the field to apply. You won’t regret it.
Best of luck to everybody (y especialmente a los españoles que me estén leyendo)!!!

Brian Gitahi
Brian GitahiSema guys,
My name is Brian Gitahi and I just left CERN after what was the best summer of my life so far.
I’m from Nairobi, Kenya and I study Physics at Princeton University. I had the good fortune to
get into the summer program this year where I worked in the CMS on a project characterizing
silicon sensors.
This here is a brief glimpse into my personal adventures featuring tales from the kitchen, group bonding antics and bad selfies.
The kitchen in Building 38 (CERN hostel) is a hub where quite a number of us summer students face off with our biggest fears. Below is a picture of what I told my friend was chicken Alfredo.
If you look closely, you will find that it is not just chicken. Long Brian chicken pastastory short, he was asking too many questions and I wanted it to seem like a delicious, well-planned out meal (in truth, the
pasta was well overcooked and the cut-up beef meatballs actually tasted like chicken). Fast
forward to one month later and I was cooking chicken Alfredo every other day – with actual
My adventures extended well beyond the kitchen thankfully, but I will not have time to talk much about them. What I will do is briefly elaborate on this picture below.
Brian with friendsThis is perhaps the most beautiful moment I have ever lived outside home. My friends and I took a boat tour on lake Brienz near Interlaken and while the view was breathtaking, the carefree vibe and sense of friendship is what I will remember the most. You know that feeling at the beginning of an adventure when you’re anticipating everything and excited about every conversation? Yeah, ok now imagine that x1000. I like this picture because I was just living in the moment and taking it all in much like my whole CERN experience.
À très bientôt!

Silke Van Der Schueren
Hi everyone! I am Silke, and I study physics and astronomy in Silke at workBelgium. I arrived in CERN at the end of June, and will be staying here until the middle of September.
I am working in the CMS GEM group, a group that works on GEM (Gas Electron Multiplier) detectors. My project as a summer student is about the ME0 detector, a new muon detector that is being constructed for high-luminosity LHC (HL-LHC). Since there will be a really high particle flux in HL-LHC, we try to determine how well the ME0 detector works when a lot of particles are coming in, by putting the detector in a muon testbeam with a radioactive background source.
The summer student program is an amazing opportunity to meet like-minded students from all over the world, and share experiences and knowledge. After work, some students organise activities like swimming in the lake or a BBQ for all summer students. I got some great new friends with whom I travel around in France and Switzerland during the weekends. We visited for example Annecy, Lausanne, Montreux and Basel and did some hikes in the mountains.
One of the best parts of the summer student program is actually being surrounded by physicists and engineers. I learned so many things about physics, just from talking to people in the restaurant! I would also like to come back after finishing at the university, so it is really interesting to talk to the people working here about their work and life in and around CERN. Everyone has a different story to tell about their career and what brought them to Switzerland!
I am really grateful for being part of this program, this summer is definitely one of the best experiences in my life!

Silke with friends


Disclaimer: The views expressed in CMS blogs are personal views of the author and do not necessarily represent official views of the CMS collaboration.