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VIP visit to Point 5

Eight weeks down, two weeks to go. Our time here at CERN is coming to an end and I am rushing to wrap up all of my work and document it. Even when one is piled up with work, exciting opportunities never fail to pop up while at CERN. This past Monday the two other Caltech summer students and myself, along with one of the postdocs in our group gave a VIP tour to the chef of the White House, William H. Yosses. He had met Professor Spiropulu at Harvard and was on vacation so he stopped by for a tour of the CMS detector and the SM18 magnet facility. It was incredibly exciting because not only did we get to go back down to the CMS detector at Point 5 on the opposite side of the ring, but we were acting somewhat as tour guides for the President’s chef. Both he and his husband came to see the detector and they were incredibly nice and just a pleasure to spend the afternoon with. They were really interested in all of the physics at CERN and I was impressed by how quickly they grasped what we told them.

Here is Adi, our postdoc on the left, showing Bill the End Cap of the detector as it was opened up. We went at an interesting time since they were working on some of the renovations for the detector so the machine was opened up and the huge cranes that were used to lift the segments of the detector were in operation.

Bill, Charlie and Adi posing in front of the CMS detector before a crane came and blocked the entire shot.

The Caltech summer students in front of the detector after the crane moved into place.

It was loads of fun getting to go down into the tunnels again and also meeting Bill and Charlie. One of the best parts was that since this is the detector that we work on, it wasn’t like taking a normal tour at CERN, this time we were the ones giving it. Well, Adi was doing all of the talking but we had the chance to explain some things to Charlie and Bill on the side.

That has been pretty much the highlight of this week so far. The other high times are probably considered more mundane, such as when I found an extra token to the coffee machine in my pocket! 😀 It has been rather cool though lately since I have been getting deeper into this code that I am working with and have been learning how to use python and ROOT together. Basically I have been working with this new photon energyscale and resolution package that one of the most recent graduates from the Caltech-CMS group designed. It was on a whole new level of coding that I hadn’t worked with before and I have been trying to modify and add onto it. Basically I feel like I’m modifying the Microsoft source code or something ( maybe a bit of an exaggeration) but it is really cool to finally understand what all is going on and be able to implement new methods.

I look at the next week and a half and somewhat panic with what I need to get done before leaving. I am also somewhat sad to be leaving CERN and France. Luckily this is not the end as I will be continuing with the group into the school year again. What I am looking forward to at the end of these next two weeks is a week in Barcelona with my friend, Christine. Nothing says summer vacation more than sitting on a beach along the Mediterranean in Spain.

Valère Lambert