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Leaving CERN with new perspective on life

Spending a week at CERN is not on every high school student’s summer vacation list. But for 10 lucky Intel International Science and Engineering Fair (ISEF) finalists who received the CERN Special Award, that’s exactly where they traveled this summer.

The winning students got the chance to speak to researchers at the laboratory and see exciting technology up close. The CERN Special Award, funded jointly by Intel and the CERN IT Department, is in its eighth year.

The winners were selected by Maria Girone and Jan Iven of CERN IT Department and Ian Fisk of Simons Foundation at Intel ISEF in Phoenix, Arizona in May. They were chosen from the 1,700 high school students who participated in the competition.

“The week has changed my outlook on a career in physics,” said Michael Earle, 18, in CERN’s openlab blog. “It all seems so real, so accessible to a student.”

The Intel ISEF finalists visited the AMS experiment, the Data Centre, the LEIR accelerator, the Synchrocyclotron, the CERN Control Centre, and the Antiproton Decelerator. They also traveled to cultural hotspots in the area, including Gruyères and Chillon Castle near Montreux.

The week has changed my outlook on a career in physics.

“It’s been an amazing experience,” said Amber Yang, 17. “I’m leaving CERN with a completely new perspective on life.”

“It was an invaluable experience,” said Sophie Atzpodien, 16. “I’d love to return to learn more.”

Sophie enjoyed learning about all of the different aspects of the laboratory and how they contribute to fundamental research.

I’m leaving CERN with a completely new perspective on life.

“The visit is a great experience for us here at CERN too,” said Girone, CTO of CERN openlab, who co-organised the event with other members of the IT Department. “It’s a joy to see these passionate young students come here, absorb lots of new information and ask us tough questions.”