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Christine Nattrass | USLHC | USA

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Perks of the job

Life as a high energy physicist is not without its perks.  I recently got back from my latest trip to CERN for the EMCal test beam.  I spent about a week on the midnight to 8 AM shift and then stayed a week to work with some of my collaborators in ALICE.  The hours are long and the work is hard but the company is good and there are many perks.

I’m an avid hiker so I took a day off to go hiking in the Juras.  My friend Daniel organized it and we ended up with a group of two physicists from ALICE, one from CMS, one from ATLAS, and one from a university in France.  We had one American, one Brit, one Spaniard, and two Mexicans.  A multicultural group in many ways.  Here you can see the view from the Juras:

Somewhere down there is CMS.  It was a nice hike but next time I’ll pack my good compass and get my own trail map.  We had some unintentional adventures.

After my trip to CERN I went to a conference in Sicily – which means I had to work on a talk while I was at CERN.  Of course Sicily is beautiful:

(This is the view from Taormina during the excursion.)

Then I packed up and left, first to Geneva and then back to the US.  Five flights and four countries in two days.  My luggage made it through Paris to Atlanta but then decided to take a vacation in Atlanta without me.  I’m now looking at a grueling travel schedule in the next four months.  Plans have changed and our detector, the electromagnetic calorimeter, is going in during the Christmas shutdown.  This is great news but it also defines my holiday schedule – November and part of January at CERN.  On top of that I have a few meetings and some personal travel.  I’ll be lucky if I manage to be home for two weeks in December.  However, I did not get much sympathy from my father the other day when I was complaining about how I might have to get extra pages in my passport because I’m running out of space.  Go figure.

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One Response to “Perks of the job”

  1. josh222 says:

    Hi Christine,

    “It was a nice hike but next time I’ll pack my good compass and get my own trail map. We had some unintentional adventures.”

    I have a Garmin Oregon 550 which I use for hiking and
    city navigation or when I go on a mushroom foray.
    It has a built in compass and there are some good
    open source maps available:
    http://www.openstreetmap.org/
    http://wiki.openstreetmap.org/wiki/OSM_Map_On_Garmin

    It is not a full replacement for a paper map under all
    circumstances but most of the time it will do.

    The display could be brighter and I have heard some pure
    GPS receivers have a more sensitive receiver. Another
    constraint is a lack of overview compared to a real map:
    You have to zoom out and of course the display gets less
    detailed then.
    But it has a nice faeture: If you take a picture with the built in camera it is saved with the coordinates and
    you can display it on the map. With this I’m able to navigate precisely to the place where I found some mushroom species before.
    The last time I was in the forest I found some
    Cortinarius violaceus, a real beauty:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cortinarius_violaceus

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