A one year anniversary
October 1st marked my first year work anniversary at CERN. It was certainly an exceptional year, but here I want to focus only on the positive aspects.
At CERN Theoretical Physics Department, I got to meet, talk and collaborate with many brilliant scientists and colleagues. Perhaps one of my favourite things about CERN TH is the absence of hierarchy — we might have different length contracts, but all of us are researchers and experts in our own right. Even as a newcomer, I did not feel separated and was able to quickly make friends thanks to chats over coffee breaks or hangouts in CERN restaurant on Friday evenings. Even during the lockdown, the social interactions were able to continue thanks to the enthusiasm of my colleagues, who organised weekly virtual trivia quizzes.
I am a theoretical physicist and most of my work is relatively far removed from the actual measurements performed at the Large Hadron Collider. However, being at CERN really affected my relationship with the experimental side of my research. Through my interactions with other theoretical particle physicists and experimentalists on site, I got much more interested in (and simply better informed about) various details of how the measurements are done, what are the upcoming upgrades and how to make direct comparison with experimental data. It is perhaps not so surprising that my recent publication makes quantitative predictions for the future light-ion collisions at the LHC.
I am also very happy with my life outside CERN. Living on the French side, I cross the international border every time I go to work. Despite of that, I can get from my home to my office in just under fifteen minutes on bike. During the last year, I managed to learn enough French, that I can get by at my local bakery, pastry shop and the cheesemonger, all three of which I visit very often. However, it is the ever changing view of eternal mountains that tops my favourites list.
I remain very grateful to my destiny for bringing me such amazing opportunities and I look forward with earnest to my second year at CERN.