Three years ago, during my first year at UT, I never would have thought that I would be spending three months living just outside of Geneva, Switzerland and working at CERN, but here I am. I have spent the last two busy, but amazing months working late nights working on hardware on the ALICE detector on the Large Hadron Collider (LHC), digging through code to finalize plots for a method paper, and developing a new environment for reading out data from front-end electronics in the ALICE Time Projection Chamber.
In my first month here, I took radiation training, rescue mask training, and confined space training in order to be able to go almost 10 stories underground to the ALICE cavern, where I climbed into the detector to troubleshoot hardware issues on the Electromagnetic Calorimeter. Access to the detector is very sporadic, so my working hours were often very long and unpredictable. Recently, I have started working on the Time Projection Chamber on tweaking a lightweight operating system to run it on microprocessors in the detector electronics. This environment will provide more stable data collection from the electronics that track particles in the high energy collisions that occur at the LHC.
Read more about Meg Stuart’s experience at CERN and Geneva, Switzerland.