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Zoe Louise Matthews | ASY-EOS | UK

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Morning of work, tour of ALICE, back in time for tea

Biometric scan for me!

Biometric scan for me!

Gordon's skillfully taken photo of the ALICE pit

Gordon's skillfully taken photo of the ALICE pit

alicetour6

Another cool photo. Here you can see the "muon arm" of the ALICE detector. Muons have their trajectories bent by one of the largest warm dipole magnets in the world, and they deposit tiny amounts of energy in the detectors

Wow. Look at that. Let's take a photo :-)

Wow. Look at that. Let's take a photo 🙂

Me in front of ALICE. I was asked to pose as cheesily as possible. I think I did well!

Me in front of ALICE. I was asked to pose as cheesily as possible. I think I did well!

My lovely boyfriend is coming to visit me for the weekend, so I won’t be blogging for the next couple of days. However, I thought I would just post a few photos before I go and get him from the airport. These were taken last week when I took a handful of PhD students plus one postdoc to explore the ALICE detector. Working on CERN experiments themselves, my friends out here are more familiar with this sort of thing than the usual “visitors”, so I was rather surprised to see how many of them wanted to see ALICE. I can only take 7 at a time on my own (no more will fit in the lift!) so I am hoping for space to take another group soon. For many UK-based students and postdocs, ALICE is the mysterious fourth element – they know it is there but have never seen it, because who would show it to them? Of course, I jumped at the opportunity to show off our great detector! It was rather a pain getting through the security doors and biometric scan, but all that effort was worth it. It struck me, once we reached the bottom 50 metres underground, that no matter who the audience, everyone reacts the same when they see detectors like this. My mind was cast back to all the various kinds of people I have given tours to, and to when I saw it for the first time myself. It doesn’t matter whether they know nothing about it, have seen it before, or know it rather close to inside out. Everyone, old and young, scientist or not, for it or against it, immediately feels the overwhelming awe of the acheivement reflected in it, and has the same knee-jerk reaction. They get out their camera. “I am not forgetting this!” Thanks to Gordon Ball and Sara Traynor for the photos. 🙂

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