Hi reader! This summer I got the chance to work in the High Energy Physics Laboratory (LPHE) at EPFL, under the supervision of Prof. Lesya Shchutska. Coming to Switzerland, I expected to obtain a very valuable research experience, this internship however gave me much more.
At LPHE, I worked on the geometry implementation and digitization of the Scintillating Fibre (SciFi) Tracker for the SND@LHC experiment at CERN. SND@LHC is a compact experiment that is currently in the installation and commissioning phase and is intended to be ready for the Run 3 of the LHC. Since the LPHE is strongly involved in the production of the SciFi, I got to see the detector planes in real life and communicated with the researchers working on this technology throughout my internship. My work was exclusively software based and I mostly worked in Python, C, C++ and ROOT. This is however not a rule, and it mainly depends on the tasks assigned to you. You could also have a hardware-based internship here if you wanted to, as some of my fellow interns did. I found my project very rewarding as I could see a major improvement in my computational skills, my overall confidence and got to be a part of the particle physics collaboration.
In this lab you will really feel like a part of the team. All the lab members are very friendly, open-minded and approachable people that will not hesitate to give you advice. Almost every day we would either go for lunch, have a cup of coffee or just meet up after work. Overall, I was very excited to go to work every day. Thanks to this, I also gained an insight into what it would be like to be a PhD student in this lab (great!).
As you probably read in some of the other articles, Lausanne is one of the most breath-taking places to be. As soon as you arrive, you will notice sky-high mountains at the other side of the lake. Some say that you will get used to this sight – I never did. A few of my favourite activities were swimming and paddle boarding in the lake, or just reading a book on the banks. The city is full of small bakeries, shops and interesting museums. I also loved the time I spent with my fellow interns from the program, I could not have hoped for a better bunch. Finally, my tips for trips would definitely be Lauterbrunnen (The valley of 72 waterfalls) and Lavaux (Vineyard Terraces).
I am very grateful that I got to be a part of the Research Internships Program and LPHE in particular. It has been one of the most insightful and exciting experiences of my life and I would recommend it to anyone!
Katarina Zatkova, The University of Edinburgh
High Energy Physics Laboratory (LPHE)