American University of Beirut

AUB students join the world’s largest accelerator complex for one year internships

​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​Sally Abou Melhem, Office of Communications,​​​​

This August, three AUB students will be joining CERN, the world's largest particle physics research facility, to complete their one-year internships in software development and engineering as well as project management.

At CERN, the European Organization for Nuclear Research, physicists and engineers are probing the fundamental structure of the universe. They use complex scientific instruments to study the basic constituents of matter and explore the fundamental laws of nature.

“This internship program is part of a long-term partnership between Lebanon and CERN," explained CERN adviser for the MENA region, Martin Gastal. Lebanon joined the CERN family in 2016 through the signature of an International Cooperation Agreement, which triggered a strong development of the country's contributions to CERN projects, particularly through the affiliation of four Lebanese universities to the Compact Muon Solenoid (CMS) collaboration. AUB joined CERN as a cooperating institute in the CMS experiment in 2018. Click here to read more about the beginnings of this collaboration.

The students will be working within CERN's Compact Muon Solenoid (CMS) experiment, which consists of a unique general-purpose particle detector that allows scientists and engineers to make new discoveries and identify new phenomena that can ultimately help answer questions related to what the universe is made of and how it works. The CMS experiment is one of the largest international scientific collaborations in history, involving about 5,500 particle physicists, engineers, technicians, students, and support staff from 241 institutes in 54 countries.

Gastal, who is also CMS experimental area manager said, “In our organisation, we have students and young graduates from AUB, LU, USJ, and LAU. I am delighted that three more AUB students will join us at CERN working for the CMS collaboration." Gastal added, “AUB students have a proven strong track record working on our projects, and I have no doubts that the new generation joining us this summer will do very well too."

The AUB interns' duties will include software development, technical coordination, as well as being involved in the High-Performance Computing for Lebanon (HPC4L) project, one of the CMS projects that was initiated to build Lebanon's research capacity while contributing as a Tier-2 center to the analysis of CMS data.

“The software was part of what attracted me to the job, but the main thing that attracted me was the project management work I will be doing for the High Performance Computing for Lebanon (HPC4L) facility," said Zein Zebib, third-year computer and communications engineering student at AUB, and one of the interns joining CERN this summer. “With everything happening in Lebanon, I felt powerless, and this job gave me the opportunity to give back and help the country I love by promoting innovation and scientific discovery."

He added, “AUB has contributed so much to my life, and I can't wait to make them proud by representing them at CERN."  

Sara Abbas, third-year student majoring in computer and communication engineering at AUB, is the second student joining CERN for an internship. She commented, “Elon Musk once said 'I could either watch it happen or be a part of it,' as I started my journey as a computer and communication engineering student at AUB, I decided to be part of it."

“Few months ago, Mark Zuckerberg was asked in an interview to give advice for young people, he said, 'Surround yourself with smart people.' One of the many reasons I chose CERN is to surround myself with smart and brilliant people since I believe that this is the perfect environment for a motivated and ambitious student to learn, develop, and grow," she added.

Jaafar Alawieh, computer engineering student at AUB, and the third intern joining CERN with a role to do system administration work under CMS said, “My motivation to start this internship stemmed from CERN's local status in the region as an international collaboration of some of the world's best experts on the topic of nuclear research and all spanning discoveries that may stem from it. Namely, the potential to work at CERN presented itself to me as a chance to learn from some of the most qualified technical minds in my field."

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