I arrive into Geneva airport laden with a huge backpack (mostly full of pants), a guitar and enough technology to launch a small mission to Mars. I hop onto the Y-bus to CERN.
CERN’s main Meyrin site spans the Swiss/French border and is plonked in the midst of beautiful agricultural estates which nestle in the shadows of the Jura mountain range. The largest accelerators, such as the Large Hadron Collider, are buried deep beneath French farmland and so there are several CERN outposts dotted around in France too.
The Meyrin site is massive and appears haphazardly distributed on arrival. Buildings are numbered in the order in which they were built and Building 41 will be my home for the next two months.
I settle into my nice little hostel room and go exploring. The weather is beautiful, there’s the chance of a swim in the lake and I’m feeling relaxed.
Until Day 1, when I loiter along with a multitude of nervous-looking students outside the CERN hostel.
After the initial welcome and introductions from HR we head en masse to Building 55 to pick up our security cards.
The two hour wait in glorious sunshine affords an excellent opportunity to bond with my fellow students and I meet a lovely little crew from Denmark, Spain, Italy, Germany, Romania and Brazil – which gives you a sense of the diversity of nationalities at CERN.
I track down my Aussie summie office mate Josh and we cycle across the border on our standard issue CERN bikes to the Prévessin site, or the ‘North Area’, in France where we will be based for our research project.
On meeting our supervisor Ralph, Josh and I are immediately accompanied to the lab to commence soldering. Stay tuned for creative electronics…