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CERN calling all Einstein wannabes.


Alexandra Anastassiades

THE CHANCE to work on one of the biggest physics experiments this century attracted only a handful of students at the Cyprus University of Technology (TEPAK) this week.

The largest research centre of its kind, CERN, is calling on Cypriot students and graduates to apply for positions at the Geneva-based centre, with at least two reserved places guaranteed for Cypriot applicants.

Cypriot nationals are now eligible to apply for positions at the European Organisation for Nuclear Research, known as CERN, following the signing of an agreement on October 5, 2012, making Cyprus an associate member of the research centre.

CERN representative Seamus Hegarty was at TEPAK on Thursday to brief potential candidates on the job and training opportunities at the research centre.

"It is a relaxed working environment, where our common goal ensures that barriers are broken down. Students may often find themselves chatting to Nobel Prize winners during lunch," said Hegarty.

He added that women were especially encouraged to apply as CERN wishes to increase its female participation. The poor ratio of men to women at CERN was also reflected in the audience where only three of the 20-25 who showed up were women.

"This is a very difficult period for Cyprus, and it's a fantastic opportunity for young people to be exposed to an excellent scientific environment," said TEPAK Professor Marios Ioannides.

"There are currently no Cypriots at CERN, so it is important for us to be represented," he added.

Despite the disappointing turnout, Hegarty strongly encouraged the TEPAK students who did show up to apply to the variety of programmes that CERN offers, ranging from technical and administrative to doctoral programmes.

He also warned that if they didn't succeed the first time round, to keep on trying.

CERN operates the world's largest particle physics laboratory, employing and hosting thousands of scientists and engineers from all over the world involved in high-energy physics research. It is also home of the now famous particle accelerator, the Large Hadron Collider, which is effectively a 27km-long, double-ended gun that shoots beams of protons at each other.

Those who may be put off by the stiff competition to work in one of the world's leading research centres should be encouraged by the fact that the CERN Summer Student Programme is the only CERN programme that has nationality quotas.

CERN is therefore required to recruit two Cypriot students for the highly competitive 8-13 week paid programme.

Training programmes and jobs are open to students and graduates in a variety of fields, giving them the opportunity to develop and challenge themselves in an international environment at the forefront of science and technology.

One academic who showed up for the event expressed their disappointment at the low turnout, bemoaning the fact that many students preferred to sit in the cafeteria playing cards than attend the presentation.

More information on the available programmes and how to apply can be found on

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Publication:Cyprus Mail (Cyprus)
Date:Nov 10, 2012
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