It has already been almost 2 months since I arrived at CERN, but it certainly feels like a week. Being in such an interesting place, surrounded by some of the smartest people in the world, is a unique and inspiring feeling for a young researcher like myself. I was also lucky enough to be able to have the opportunity to visit CERN in the beginning of my PhD, which greatly helped me to integrate to the CMS experiment.
No later than during my first week here I came to realize the importance of group meetings for the scientific community at CERN. All kind of meetings are taking place every day of the week and people from all around the world can listen and contribute by giving updates on their research.
Even though I was a bit dissapointed after the first few meetings, because I could’t understand most of the jargon people where using, I soon started to grow fond of following and even giving regular reports about my work to the rest of the group. The weekly meetings and private communication with the group members helped me a lot to start feeling as a member of the group. However, I was still missing some basic knowledge concerning the experiment and the collaboration.
Thankfully, CMS helped all its new members to get an idea if the collaboration administration, the details of the detector and the techniques used in the experiment, by providing an introductory course during the second week of June (so right on time!). It was a 2-day course and the agenda foresaw overview talks on various topics and a visit to point 5.
During the talks of the first day we heard about the LHC and the CMS detector and more specifically about the muon tracking system, the calorimeters and some details concerning the detector’s assembly. Later on there were talks on data taking, the offline preparation and data analysis, which provided very useful information for someone like me, who is just starting their first analysis.
The day ended with talks from people of the CMS community group, the collaboration board and the young scientist community, followed by a very informative talk about “practicalities” at CMS. This last talk of the day not only provided general info about useful web pages, indico and twiki pages, but also focused on the requirements and responsibilities of CMS members. The speaker emphasized the importance and adviced the new members of the collaboration to keep following their goals and manage their time in such a way that they are maximally efficient, but to also find a good balance between life and work.
Unfortunately, we were not able to visit the detector on the second day, since the experiment was running, but we got a nice tour on the surface site, followed by talks on the safety at CERN. The introductory course ended with a seminar on the operation monitoring system, the L1 trigger online control system, and an overview on physics performance and data set operations.
Overall, the course was a great way for me to start my stay at CERN, my membership in the collaboration, and my work on the L1 muon trigger DPG group and on the SUSY analysis, which I will talk about in an upcoming post.