It was the 5th of July 2004 when I first set my foot at CERN to attend its Summer School programme. I was near the end of my physics studies without any plans of what to do next. Two months later, after having worked with the amazing people at the CAST experiment and having learnt loads of stuff, I found myself leaving the lab hoping that I would manage to return somehow.
Coming summer 2007, July again. A young, care-free PhD student from the physics department of the University of Wisconsin-Madison steps through CERN’s Entrance B (yes, that would me). Had someone told me back then, that I would end up spending the next decade of my life at the world’s top research facility I would definitely call them nuts.
But I did. And it was amazing.
We put the world’s largest particle smasher into operation. We collided gazillions of protons, discovered new particles and eventually this research led to a Nobel prize. For my part, I spent my time doing physics analyses, worked on helping the CMS experiment take data, contributed into studies for future experiments and spend loads and loads of time guiding visitors at CERN and producing material to share what we do here with the world. In August 2008, on an afternoon that I was too lazy to do any real work because of the heat, I created the CMS Facebook page – it has currently reached over 16000 likes!
People came and left. I made friends at CERN who are now scattered all over the world and too many to mention, which is probably a most welcome problem for someone to have to deal with.
But you all know who you are, right? I owe a gargantuan thank you to all of you for making my stay here special and memorable. It’s not goodbye between us; à bientôt!
From now on you will be able to find me in the Eindhoven region in the Netherlands, working for ASML, making sure everyone can get better, faster, smaller microprocessors for our gadgets. And it will be awesome!