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Monica Dunford | USLHC | USA

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Silence

‘Twas the week before the CERN closure…

This is one of my favorite weeks to be at CERN. CERN officially closes for two weeks at the end of every year. During this time, I suppose it is possible to enter CERN, but bring a heavy coat because they turn the heat off to most of the buildings. This is the last week before the closure and already things are starting to wind down.

By now most of the Americans have left. It is very expensive to fly this coming weekend so most people have already headed back to the States for the break. A lot of the Europeans have left for the same reason. It is easier to travel now then over the weekend. There are no big meetings at CERN because everyone else is traveling. No one wants to start any serious operations or tests on the detector because we have to power off the full system tomorrow anyway. So all that is left at CERN is basically a skeleton crew.

And I love it. One week to just sit in my office, with no meetings, no phone calls, no detector crises to attend to, no interruptions. Just work.

It is not that I don’t like the normal hustle and bustle of CERN. I enjoy the silence of this week so much only because it is such a stark contrast to all other weeks. But I think one of the most commonly spoken phrases in all of particle physics is probably, ‘if I just had two days with no interruptions I could get [insert name of your analysis here] done’.

So that is how I see this week. A week where I can start to tackle some of those if-I-just-had-two-days tasks that I have been putting off for so long. Let’s see how successful I actually am. Thus far my success rate is zero-point-zero. But I have grand ambitions.

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