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James Doherty | Open University | United Kingdom

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An unexpected collision

So here we go! I’ve finished my exams and after a week of camping and getting soggy in Wales I turn my attention to CERN.

I received an e-mail from my supervisor Ralph, an extremely clever and even more endearing German whom I met for lunch in London earlier in the year. The e-mail goes something like this:

“Hi James,

I’m sure you are already au fait with the following but just in case you should brush up on…”

Ralph then goes on to list several text books, loads of software and a few programming languages most of which I have never heard of. Reality hits that this summer is going to involve a lot of hard work and not just chillaxing on the banks of Lake Geneva.

So besides learning how to code, how accelerators work and what the heck a Fast Fourier Transform is, I will be packing pants. Why I hear you say?

Summies generally live in hostel accommodation on the CERN site. To avoid the trials and tribulations of communal kitchens and washing facilities I plan to eat big lunches in R1 (CERN’s really good canteen which serves cold beer) and avoid doing any clothes washing for as long a possible.

From university days I know the trick to the latter is to have many pairs of pants – so its going to be a good trading month for Marks and Spencer.

Science pants

Science pants

My other, less than ideal, bit of preparation this week was getting knocked off my bike at a big roundabout in Oxford. I am fine but my bike is a bit mangled. I was expecting lots of collisions this summer but not this sort!

The next post will be from CERN – wish me ‘bonne chance’.

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4 Responses to “An unexpected collision”

  1. Andrew Halper says:

    Bonne chance indeed, Jimmy D. I look following your tribulations….cheers!

  2. Cris Fitch says:

    // Ralph then goes on to list several text books, loads of software and a few programming languages most of which I have never heard of.

    Any possibility of sharing this with us? Curious as to what is currently in use.

    – Cris
    San Diego, CA

    • Hiya Chris – apologies for the slow reply. So:

      Text books: Klaus Wille: “The Physics of Particle Accelerators: An Introduction” and Chao,Tigner: “Handbook of Accelerator Physics and Engineering”.

      Signal processing: (basic C/C++), and the Fourier and Huang-Hilbert Transforms (HHT).

      Software packages: Linux, Latex, Root, Audacity, ALSA, QUCS, KiCAD

      Most importantly: Wikipedia.

      Hope those are useful.

      Atb,

      J

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