Work experience at the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory

One of our students, Mary Pavlenko, has recently visited the biggest machine ever built by humans! During work experience at the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory, several CSFC students had the opportunity to visit the LHC (Large Hadron Collider), which is a particle accelerator at CERN. Here is what Mary had to say about the experience:

"This summer I was chosen to work in the Particle Physics department at the Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC), where they develop new software for one of the collision detectors at CERN. Broadly speaking research at STFC consists of several departments and the particle accelerators they work on. I received help from our careers department here at Cardiff Sixth Form College to obtain this placement, which I am grateful for. I wouldn’t have been aware of this opportunity without them and their expert services." 

"The lab I worked in at the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory develops and tests electronics, firmware, and software for the CMS experiment at the Large Hadron Collider. My tasks were concerned with high-speed data processing and about keeping the entire infrastructure running. Usually, this consisted of programming using Python, but I also got to experience other sides of the job like attending meetings and talks where particle physicists share their current ideas. This was very exciting as the discussions were wide ranging and at times, very inspiring."

"I worked there for two weeks and usually, my day consisted of starting work at 9.00am and doing some coding up until 12.00pm when I had an hour break for lunch. Sometimes after lunch, I visited other departments like Computing or Space Research and then continued coding up until 5 pm. It might sound simple, but it was an excellent opportunity to contribute to such a large project and see a little bit of how CERN works."

"For me, this work experience meant seeing what actual physicists do and meeting so many like-minded people. This was a great opportunity to strengthen my passion for Physics, and I would encourage more students to seek out experiences like this one to enhance their future careers."