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.
Mirza Basyir Rodhuan
Universiti Tun Hussein Onn Malaysia (UTHM)
By participating in CSSP, I am excited to attend lectures featuring internationally renowned lecturers, to meet people around the world, to learn new things and improve my knowledge and participating in many programmes under CSSP to gain experience.
I am working at ALPHA, which stands for Antiproton Laser Physics Apparatus. ALPHA runs experiments that take antiproton and positron together to produce antihydrogen, that also to determine their behaviour. To improve ALPHA experiments, Alpha-g is being built to trap the produced antihydrogen. My supervisor is Sameed Mohammed and my co-supervisor is Mark Andrew Johnson. They are quite preoccupied with their respective work, but still make time to teach and supervise me.
My first project is to create and test five Microchannel Plate (MCP) power supply boxes for the Alpha-g, which will be supervised by Peter Knapp. This box is used to provide the super high voltage power supply needed by the MCP.
I was assigned to two new projects on 4 July 2018. My second project is to install and test Silicon Multiplier Detector (SMD) using LabVIEW simulation, supervised by Darij Markian Starko. This project is more to hand-tool and simulation using LabVIEW where I need to take the data as SMDs are functioning. The third project is the production of 20 PCB Breaker supervised by my main supervisor. The PCB Breaker is designed using the Altium software and will be sent to the supplier for the board to be printed; this is followed by soldering and testing by me.
CERN employees are very polite and friendly. Once, I got lost in a building and need a specific pass to access a room. I proceeded to ask someone in the building, telling her where I need to go; she then showed me the way plus helped me to get the required safety shoes. Another instance of their helpfulness is when we ask questions regarding certain processes; they will gladly answer and provide long explanation to ensure that we understand it fully.
I chose a single room at the Saint-Genis-Schuman on the French side of CERN. The room is comfortable and provides two closets, one pillow, and one refrigerator. At CERN, the restaurant provides vegetarian food that is Halal; one may ask the chef for clarification. I will buy food on the French side because it is more affordable, and there is a Halal butcher shop and restaurant here too. I take the bus to go to CERN, about 3.3 kilometres from my hostel.
With my participation in CSSP, I would like to delve deeper in the field of particle physics. The field of particle physics is large; it includes various theories used to describe particle behaviour, detectors used to detect the particles in experiments, and the materials that are used in said detectors to capture or detect the particles more efficiently. Furthermore, there are various software used in CERN that needs to be learned to analyse data, run simulations, and many more.