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Lucie de Nooij

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Lucie de Nooij

Just after my graduation my father told me how he expected me to go and study physics when he taught me to calculate in the binary system at the each of six. For me this choice was never so clear, as my best subject in high school was Ancient Greek and I always thought that physics would be a lot of work and stress.

Amsterdam is a beautiful city with clubbing and culture, where I grew up. When I finally decided to try and study physics, I applied to the University of Amsterdam. The first Monday of the first year is still vividly in my mind. The special relativity teacher told us to look to our left and right neighbour in the classroom. “In five years, only one out of three of you will still be here.” And all my carefully developed self-confidence was gone again.

The bachelor proved itself to be as doable as I expected it to be horrible. I had time for things like riding my horse, be in the board of the student association and organize all kinds of things. Quite frankly, being a physics student provided me with a special position in my live outside the university. In bars, people would hear me out about black holes and my vision on the technological future. Better subjects than the weather, I guess. One of the best advices I received during my time in university was the one to go to discussion sessions of subjects I had never heard of, visit parties I expected to hate and talk to everyone I met. “The worst kind of short sidedness is the intellectual one” my professor told me. He was –of course- right. I started to like rock music, joined a political party and attended to many discussions. I even got to talk to our prime minister at some point!

After the bachelor I chose for the master in particle physics and had the opportunity to attend to the CERN summer school in 2007. The summer school was an eye-opener. We had so much fun and were able to do something useful. When my graduation approached, I applied for a PhD in particle physics in Amsterdam, with the opportunity to work at CERN for a year. I got the job and again I have mixed feelings how I will combine the horse riding, night-life and music with physics. But this time I am quite faithful things will work out fine.