Schools out – but not at CERN

For schools around the world, summer is a time of relaxation, but not at CERN. This is the time of year that summer students descend on us from around the world, giving the lab a refreshing summertime rejuvenation.


This year, we had over 1700 applicants for the 255 places available, and we have a nationality distribution as diverse as that of the laboratory itself, with students coming from 66 different countries. The summer student programme is long-standing tradition for CERN, and a great opportunity for the young people who come, many of whom form lifelong friendships, and all of whom leave with an important addition to their CVs. But the programme is equally important for CERN, helping us to fulfil our mission and developing a growing community of ambassadors for science.

The summer student programme is part of CERN’s broad educational portfolio that ranges from informal education for young children all the way to professional schools in physics, accelerator science and IT. On the way, it takes in the High School Teachers’ programme. Much expanded over recent years to cater to the needs of teachers from our member states individually, the HST still includes a large multinational summer school. This year, that school has given rise to a very exciting grass roots initiative from its African participants. As a result of their experience here, they’ve set up a network of science education promoters in Africa, with a mission to support science teachers on the continent, and to pass the message to all areas of African society that science is necessary for society to progress. Eleven teachers representing seven African countries are founding this network. I wish them every success.

But shouldn’t summer be a time of relaxation? From what I hear, our summer students and high school teachers do all manage to fit a little relaxation into their busy time at CERN.


Rolf Heuer


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