An inspiring summer: from the diary of a CERN intern

Summer intern Siddharth Sehgal spent two weeks working on the Gas Electron Multiplier at the CMS detector

An inspiring summer: from the diary of a CERN intern

Siddharth Sehgal at the Globe of Science and Innovation (Image: CMS/CERN)

For two weeks this summer, as an intern at CERN, I had a wonderful exposure to the exciting and challenging world of particle physics under the supervision of Archana Sharma, a senior particle physicist at CERN. I had the opportunity to visit different departments of CERN spread out in over 900 buildings, attend fascinating lectures by renowned academics on cutting-edge research, and to shadow scores of physicists, engineers, theorists and mathematicians.

As a physics student, this was truly a phenomenal experience for me. I really enjoyed my time at CERN — from the lectures and interviews to the various assignments set by Archana and other staff. I thank all of them for letting me enjoy the wonders of scientific research, especially the world of particle physics.

Archana, my supervisor at CERN, is part of a large group of physicists working on a project to improve the CMS detector at the LHC. This project is called ‘Gas Electron Multiplier’ or GEM. A couple of other interns and I worked on this project and created 2D and 3D views for one section of the detector. It was great to experience the creative and scientific challenges that people at CERN face every day. I produced a poster presentation on the GEM project, based on all the information we took in from physicists and engineers, and as well as our own research.

For one week, we witnessed the construction and virtual development of the GEM detector. We also got a close-up view of a Resistive Plate Chamber (RPC) unit, which is part of the existing muon detection system in CMS. We saw a section of the RPCs and one of the physicists explained how it worked to us. I had the opportunity to do some hands-on practical work when a few of us high-school interns got to assist some senior university interns in taking measurements for some diagnostic tests on the RPCs to investigate their flaws and to understand how they worked.

Read more on the CMS website