Meet our guides: David
Guide since: October 2017
Position: Senior fellow for the Muon Collider study
Languages: French, English
In 2008, I had the great opportunity to undertake a one-week middle-school internship at CERN, during which I discovered the contagious passion for science and technology I saw in my supervisors. Today, it’s my turn to try and pass on that passion to everyone, especially young people.
Whether it’s showing visitors around the most iconic places at CERN or at events such as Science Night, I’ve been able to meet and talk to people of all ages and backgrounds. Many visitors initially feel that what is done at CERN and in physics research in general is too difficult to understand. However, after a few discussions and by making connections with everyday phenomena or objects, people become interested and grasp the value of such research, and often want to find out more or come back to CERN.
I also particularly enjoy guiding school classes and taking part in activities aimed at children. Whether it’s working with schools when their classes come to visit us, or taking part in science shows such as “Fun with Physics”, I always see a sense of wonder and a “wow” effect, not just in the children’s eyes but also those of the teachers and adults who accompany them.
Children are curious about everything and ask lots of questions about the world around them and how we study it. This requires that we, as guides, question ourselves and stay curious, because some questions, such as “How does the Higgs boson work?” are not easy to answer. This offers an opportunity to involve everyone: the group of children act as the Higgs field, their parents or teachers then try to make their way through while the kids can gently heckle the adults, giving the “particles” mass. Together they reconstruct the Higgs mechanism!
Being a guide at CERN brings a dimension to one’s work that I think is necessary to our profession: that of sparking curiosity. For example, I remember a 12-year-old girl from nearby Meyrin who told me that she wanted to understand the world around us by becoming a physicist and then go into politics to better protect it.