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Alexandre Fauré | CEA/IRFU | FRANCE

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The US Science Festival in Chicago

This is it. I started my PhD since last week in Saclay. I was expecting this since I was coming back from my US trip even if I never stopped working during all of this time just because I so much love it and so much want to learn more…

I have now my own desk for this long time to come. Of course, I am really happy to work with other PhD students of my experiment and others, on LHC’ ones. It will be certainly very useful to be able to share a lot of computing and/or physics tips during hard work times.

On the other hand, there is one bad part for all of that stuff : to sign papers. Everyday since I started, I have to share papers, to ask for people’s signatures and to send them back to the dedicated authorities. That could be really a nightmare if people are not really involved in their work but that is not the case in my lab, hopefully for me.

Comes the really best part to begin the work : the US Science Festival in Chicago is coming, like in France, next week in the United States. A french colleague of my experiment team asked me if I want to be part of this great experience to vulgarize and teach to interested citizen how experimental particle physics works. This mission is provided by the french Consulate of Chicago which want to show the french and american collaboration especially in science, with the great Fermilab’s TeVatron experiment. Most of the people we will see are pupils and students from Chicago and this is a really good time to make them interested in physics or, at least, science.

This is a good way to carry on the vulgarization works I have made in France when I was animator and guide in spatial park museum and in planetarium. I don’t have the time to be involved in that stuff anymore so I really wanted to be part of this.

In fact, since the beginning of my high school in France, I heard a couple of times that pupils/students are not interested in mathematics and physics anymore because it seems to hard for them. Everyone involved in science have heard, at least one time in his life, the famous sentence : ”Maths ? Uh, I never like that ! That’s definitely not for me”.

I hope things are going to change now and it seems to be the case for younger students when they want to be part of physics after an episode of the great The Big Bang Theory TV show – some people believe that is not a good thing to let them studying physics just because of that… I think the opposite : when students don’t know how to study and when they are lost after the A-Level, why not let them enrolled in Physics ? After all, they could discovered a world they never thought about !
I am convinced like a lot of things in human’s life, you have to make an effort and boost yourself for things you want to be better in. That is an advice you can apply for each difficult task you will encountered.

The Big Bang Theory TV show which enjoys a lot of students all over the world about physics' geeks and nerds.

What I want to pass on to these young people is : whatever difficult the task is, the most important thing you have to keep in mind is that you have to be curious and open-minded – just ask yourself how everyday’s things works and why. You could imagine new ways of working for them.
When you will not be shy anymore on these questions, start asking yourself about bigger thoughts e. g. about the Universe – there is so much questions you won’t be able to answer right now but that’s just the beauty of science : learn more is a path to ask more and more questions…

I discussed with people who did not want to know how the Universe begun, how and of what matter is composed of, what is supermassive black holes or why the speed of light is finite… I try to be open-minded but that totally goes beyond me to hear that.

Anyway, I am really happy to go back in Chicago, this beautiful city I loved when I first came there this fall and to see friends in Fermilab after the TeVatron’s shut down. I will try to get some pictures of you when working in the NorthWestern University, readers of Quantum Diaries, to share this beautiful experience.

Alexandre

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2 Responses to “The US Science Festival in Chicago”

  1. Xezlec says:

    This sentence:

    “I discussed with people who did not want to know how the Universe begun, how and of what matter is composed of, what is supermassive black holes or why the speed of light is finite… I try to be open-minded but that totally goes beyond me to hear that.”

    really strikes a chord with me. I’m an engineer, and it really frustrates me when people don’t understand why anyone would want to create new technology, why technological advancement is something to be enthusiastic about, or why someone would think technology is a good or worthwhile thing. I don’t even know how to respond… it’s like the person I’m talking to is from a different planet.

    I guess the way I feel about technology is the same way you feel about physics, or an artist feels about art, or a chef feels about food, or an athlete feels about physical competition. When something is important to you, it is hard to accept that there are other people who just don’t care.

  2. AlexandreFaure says:

    Thanks for your comment Xezlec. I totally agree with you. I guess it’s a totally normal feeling when you’re fond of something (or someone). But in some cases, when it’s about question of identity (like the origin of the Universe) I exepect people to be more interested … But as I said, that’s not the case sometimes.

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