The CERN Experience: Part 1
This is a two-part series featuring a brief entry by each Malaysian participant of the CERN Summer Student Programme 2018. In the first part, participants will chronicle their initial thoughts upon arrival; the second part will feature their thoughts upon completion of the eight-week programme at the prestigious European Organisation for Nuclear Research. Entries have been edited for brevity and clarity.
Universiti Teknologi Malaysia (UTM)
I am thankful to be selected to participate in CSSP and to represent Malaysia in particle physics research. With this opportunity, I am fortunate to be able to make new friends from other countries. They come from different academic backgrounds: engineering, computer physics, and physics. I am involved in the AEGIS Project, which stands for Antihydrogen Experiment: Gravity, Interferometry, Spectroscopy, that aims to carry the first direct measurement of a gravitational effect on an antimatter system. They are using a FACT detector which is a main tool detecting anti-hydrogen produced in the anti-proton trap of the AEGIS experiment. Specifically, I am working on gAn-offline (gravity analysis) by analysing offline data which involves Linux system, ROOT, Python, and database. Micheal Doser and Chloe Malbrunot will be my supervisor and co-supervisor, respectively. They will be supervise me for the next 2 months.
Working as researcher in CERN is very challenging: I saw that researchers work in day and night shifts, waiting for the beam especially for FACT detector to detect the antihydrogen every single day. They work together to solve certain problems in an experiment to ensure they get the data for antihydrogen. I learnt to never give up and to be hardworking. I feel like a real part of the researchers, atending collaboration meetings to update the current progress of the experiments every week. To enhance my understanding, I try to learn new things such as Linux OS and Python. I also learnt to work independently to show some progress on my own, instead of always asking for help. However, certain problems prove to be trickier than one man can handle; then I would seek the expertise to guide me. Researchers in CERN come from different coutries with various cultural and academic backgrounds. Aside from research endeavours, CERN also has programmes such as workshops, lectures, site visit and club activities. I attended some workshops such as those teaching ROOT and Cloud Chamber. Cloud Chamber workshop is very amazing which makes us realize the existence of the particles observing the particles track. ROOT workshop is to introduce to student about data analysis of particle physics and doing some simulations.
For the next eight weeks, I am staying at Residence Robert Schuman in St. Genis Pouilly, France. The hostel is very convenient and comfortable. Services provided by this hostel include a refrigerator, food pantries, and cooking equipments. The kitchen is shared among neighbours. The living cost is comparatively more affordable on the French side compared to on the Swiss side. A Carrefour supermarket is a five-minute walk from the my hostel. There is also a halal shop close by: Rayan Butcher Shop. Groceries are very affordable here. Mirza and I always cook together after work. We eat two times per day. To get to CERN, I travel by bicycle, which takes about eight minutes.
During my participation in CSSP, I want to learn how to fix issues in OS Linux, specifically installing software like ROOT & Python. By learning this, I can analyse big data easily. I want to also improve my communication skills during collaboration meetings to better present current results of my project. With that, I am keen to stay on track to further my studies in particle physics.