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CERN technical studentships

CERN has a number of placements ranging in duration for students specialising in different technical fields and following a full-time course at an educational establishment in the member states.

Technical studentships are mainly in the fields of computing, engineering and applied physics, with particularly large numbers taken for computing related projects. Students specialising in theoretical or experimental particle physics are not eligible for this scheme. Administrative studentships are also available for non-technical students.

Students can apply for a placement of four to 12 months, with those applying to the full 12 months favoured. Undergraduates must have a minimum of 18 months’ study at undergraduate level in order to be eligible.

You can find out more on the CERN recruitment website.

Case study

Undergraduate Olivia Bailey is spending her placement year at CERN. We asked her to tell us about her work:

“I am a technical student working in the safety team for the ALICE experiment. I have undertaken this position as a part of a yearlong industrial placement for my degree programme in Chemical Engineering at the University of Bath. I came to work at CERN because I thought it an amazing opportunity to be able to contribute in any way to this European hub of science. During my studies I have developed a specific interest in the human and environmental considerations of modern industrial processes. Whilst working with the ALICE safety team, my specific aim is to determine the fire load of the ALICE cavern. This project involves taking an inventory of all material that has been installed in the cavern to date and identifying the energy that each component would contribute in the case of a fire.

As well as the fire propagation properties of materials, I am looking into the density, toxicity and corrosivity of the gases produced during burning. The harmful gases produced in a fire situation (from the burning of plastics and other non-metallic materials) could pose a far greater risk to human life and damage to equipment than the flames themselves. It is the final aim of this initiative to have enough knowledge of the materials present underground to enable the simulation of a fire at various points in the cavern.

This simulation could allow us to identify the areas that are most at risk of fire damage and, very importantly, allow us to see how a fire would impact on the escape routes from the cavern. Since the project started in September I have been looking at the properties of the cabling in ALICE. Collating the vast amounts of information spread over the various systems of the past years has proved a challenge. Finding the relevant information has meant communication with a broad range of people from the detector groups to the CERN shop, to HSE and is still on-going.

This experience so far working for ALICE has taught me much about the time scale that tasks take outside the classroom.

Working in such a multicultural, multilingual team is a very unique and educational experience. I look forward to the rest of my year with ALICE.

This article was taken from issue 36 of the UK News from CERN newsletter.

Last updated: 15 November 2021

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