By boat to CERN

Hello, my name is Jordan Juras. I will be here at CERN for a 2-month period spanning mid-June through mid-August working as Student Journalist for The Bulletin. This is a conventional position, but the manner with which I arrived at CERN is quite the opposite.

Sitting at work one May 12th morning, I came across a Bulletin article (No. 20-21/2009) while perusing the LHC website. It was advertising ‘Fisica in Barca in Europe 2009’. They were looking for physicists living along the Mediterranean coast between Lisbon and Genoa to help out with the programme. Though I do not hold the title of physicist, nor do I live in Europe (in fact I live just outside of Harrow, Ontario, Canada), I felt compelled to write an email, expressing my love for physics and my interest in helping out with the programme.

To my surprise, my help on board was welcome, and I managed to find some discount airfare and I set out for the South of Italy to meet the boat in Bari. Between Bari and Trieste, I sailed with the Adriatica – the boat used by scientists to show the physics of sailing to the students participating on board – making many stops along the way, teaching and animating the physics onboard the sailboat to highschool students. We were also involved in some activities unrelated to Fisica in Barca. In Chioggia, we animated a presentation by Enel using the fuel cells onboard the Adriatica, and discussed with the students the benefits of an efficient use of the energy. In Numana, instead of hosting an educational experience for students, we helped film a Velisti per Caso documentary. The four of us on board crewing the boat will be seen on national television throughout Italy and most of Europe!

From Trieste, I travelled both by train and by plane in order to reach Geneva. I arrived on the 5th of June as a volunteer, assisting in planning ‘Fisica in Barca in Europe 2009’. As I am not Italian and because of the fact that I had no preconceived notions of the programme, I provided positive criticism regarding my experiences on board, delivering non-biased suggestions to help improve the experience on board the Adriatica.

During the last days of my one-week stay at CERN, I was subject to a most fortunate change of plans. I received a proposal from the CERN Bulletin giving me the opportunity to work as Student Journalist! I made quick arrangements across the Atlantic by phone, and settled in for my prolonged stay in Geneva.

I am currently studying at McGill University in Montreal, Canada and in September, I will continue into my second year with the proud title of Physics Major. The atmosphere around the University provides many opportunities to be exposed to the working world of academia, and this past year I had the chance to attend a seminar hosted by John Ellis. It was held during Rutherford Week at McGill, and as I sat there listening, I fancied what it must be like to wake up in the morning and have CERN as a destination and workplace… funny that just 8 months ago I should ask such a question!

Jordan Juras

Further Reading: (in Italian, with exception of the English texts submitted while on board)

Calling all physicists

A resounding success since 2005, this Italian-born project is now being taken to the European level. Any physicists living in Portugal, Spain or France who are interested in taking part can contact the project coordinator, Paola Catapano, at the following address:

On 1 September, the European tour starts in Almeria for an oceanographic and educational adventure organised by the National Oceanography Centre in Southampton, England and the Parco delle Cinque Terre in Italy. The tour milestones are:

  • Lisbon, 14-16 September
  • Valencia, 22-24 September
  • Barcelona, 25-26 September
  • Marseilles, 1-2 October
  • Parco delle Cinque Terre, 7-8 October

Additional information (in Italian only) can be found on the project website,