December 2009

Visiting the CERN

On December 8th, a holiday in Italy, we woke up early in Geneva to visit the CERN centre.  After a rainy day spent visiting Geneva, the Moon was shining in the sky, telling us that beside some remaining clouds, it was going to be a sunny day. The CERN laboratories are nearby Geneva airport, just outside the city, and if it was not for some roadworks that forced us to find alternative paths playing with the GPS - finally we arrived in front of Building 33, the CERN reception. Outside, on the other side of the road, the Globe of Reasearch and Innovation marks the spot, telling this is not just the usual campus.

Our booked visit was beginning at 10, but my colleague Dario happen to be friend of a physicist working there, thereby we were invited to have breakfast with him. While waiting for him we bought some souvenirs of the visit, including the helmets used while accessing the instruments.

We met Matteo, and he guided us along the labyrinthic corridors of CERN to the self-service area to have breakfast. The CERN is a small, cosmopolitan citadel, people coming from all Europe and beyond.

We spent breakfast discussing Matteo's work - a study on how to predict how instruments become radioactive with use, and thereby how to dispose of them correctly. Although CERN is the place where the World Wide Web was born, we were more interested in its main reaseach area, particle physics. I studied Physics at the university, and although later turned to IT, I always kept a strong interest in Physics.