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Mike Anderson | USLHC | USA

View Blog | Read Bio

Monster Inc.

“This place eats relationships.”

He doesn't consume them so much as he crumbles them in his mouth and spits them back out.

Don’t get me wrong.  Working at CERN gives a student many unique opportunities.  This includes being able to live and work in a foreign country, to collaborate with scientists from around the world, and to help make discoveries on the cutting edge of physics.

Those advantages and others make it that much more unfortunate that I simply can’t bring myself to recommend this job to any new grad student who is in a relationship.

There are many other areas of research in physics where a new student can work on an interesting project for a PhD that don’t instantly create a conflict between their career and personal life.  Conflicts include:

  • Unless they are are married, their significant other won’t be able to get a VISA that allows them to stay & work legally more than a few months in France or Switzerland.
  • Not only are the experiments at CERN, but collaborators are here too – so a student is more efficient and useful when they are at CERN.
  • Even if they manage to spend most of their time in the US during grad school, what are they going to do after they graduate?  Are they going to want to continue working on a CERN experiment?

Basically, it’s a fantastic opportunity to be at CERN, but is always pressure to spend more time here – away from significant others.  So if a student is in a relationship and they want that to continue, then they’ve got some tough questions to face.

Ok, now, to all the single grad students out there: CERN is awesome.  Come to my singles-mixer Friday night!  Just kidding.  Actually, don’t expect to find that special someone at CERN – unless you are into dudes.  Dudes who are grown men that:

  • Haven’t had a real haircut since the last time they were in their home country.
  • Think their exercise for the day was taking the stairs.
  • Have discussions about stuff like this during work.

Mike

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