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Freya Blekman | USLHC | USA

View Blog | Read Bio

the power of mini-breaks

Rock On As I walk down the CERN restaurant terrace I feel refreshed. Not necessarily because summer just refuses to start here and we get gloomy clouded skies with thunder storms instead, although I can assure you Geneva thunder storms are very refreshing. No, I’ve spent two days on a very muddy field on the border of Germany, Belgium and the Netherlands, at one of Europe’s oldest outdoor music festivals. Not only was the weather significantly better than expected, I also got to enjoy some of my favorite bands and got to spend quality time with some of my friends.

Mini breaks like last weekend’s work very much as a motivator for me. For example I was actually outside for almost three days straight, listened to some political propaganda by Rage Against the Machine front man Zach de la Rocha, and of course was reminded of the luxuries of flushing toilets and warm showers.

For me these breaks are also very good for reminding myself on why you do your job. Particle Physics is in the end just like any other job, it can get a bit of a routine. But three days of not doing any work reminds me again why I love my job as much as I do: I actually was looking forward to go back to work and got some new ideas and angles on how to fix some of the problems I’m dealing with at the moment.

Letting off steam definitely is a good thing, the final month of detector commissioning seems like it will be very stressfull. Still these are the most exciting times for a particle physicist in the last ten years, we are making the final preparations and doing the last work that has to be done before the accelerator starts working. Then, after so many years of preparation we will finally see the first particles going through our detectors. The current deadline for the CMS pixel detector is that we have to be ready to install by June 25th. In 2008 😉 That’s three weeks. And we then only have two weeks to actually install our detector, as everything needs to be ready for LHC beam by mid-August. Yes these are exciting times indeed.

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