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James Doherty | Open University | United Kingdom

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The Aussies have landed

It’s just another average day on the CERN student summer programme. I attend lectures, have lunch with the crew and cycle across to Prévessin in glorious sunlight. I sweatily open the door to my office and to my surprise am confronted by four grinning Aussies – “G’day mate”.

You’ve already met my summie office mate Josh. Roger is Josh’s professor from Melbourne University. Mark is a director from the Australian Synchrotron outside Melbourne. And Tom was a summer student last year and will be here to work for a few weeks.

Tom - takes laboratory safety seriously.

Tom – takes laboratory safety seriously.

The Aussies have descended as they collaborate with CERN on developing beam position monitoring systems for both the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) and the Australian Synchrotron.

The banter flows freely and I am invited along to dinner.

Now there are many fine eating establishments in Geneva but I was pleasantly surprised to arrive at a grill next to CERN where the waiters bring out raw meat on a plate to barbecue yourself at the table. I should have known…

Interestingly Roger and Mark have travelled to CERN with Chris Henschke, a Melbournian artist who was previously in residence at the Australian Synchrotron. During his visit he meets up with CERN’s resident artist Bill Fontana. Bill does some fascinating work on the sounds of the LHC and is yet to reveal his centrepiece sculpture – “Acoustic Time Travel”.

It’s a great evening. There are some Australian teachers across undertaking training at CERN so, along with the artists, physcists, some CERN big cheeses and an Irish fella, it makes for a colourful night.

The evening ends with an invite to visit the lads in Melbourne. Um – yes please!