DIARY 2001















Sun, Jul 29

<15:25> bypass seemed slightly better as we looked for decent nightclubs. Last night was not that great though, the music was rather cheesy house, but it was the best night for me so far. They have trance and other special nights coming and that's when things might really start to kick ass. :-j

Sat, Jul 28

<04:38> Tried out a nightclub in Geneve. In fact we didn't know the places at all, except Tuomo knew one that was definitely not good. X-S had a sufficiently underground initial look and feel, but we ended up dancing to 80s tunes and the like. So not quite my kind of a place. But fun to go out anyway.

Thu, Jul 26

<19:17> Finally met up with Patrick, just in time as he's leaving tomorrow. Showed him around the tunnels. Have to admit it feels a lot safer to be there with someone else :-).

Wed, Jul 25

<00:54> On Sunday night I had a brief look at the underground tunnels. The accelerator tunnels are not accessible, but the ones under the office and laboratory buildings are creepy enough. Tuomo and Henri joined me for another look. Later I found a cage full of something radioactive, besides three doors which likewise had the yellow-black sector warnings. The walls and the floor near these doors were trembling and the noise was pretty disturbing. Needless to say, this was near building no. 51.

Yesterday I saw someone who looked very familiar, but of course he could not possibly have been here at CERN. Well, he said hi and I couldn't believe it. Patrick, my classmate in physics and buddhism at Cambridge was here with his summer project supervisor (he's working at our physics department). He's here for a week so we'll probably meet later. Should be great.

On Monday we started the RPG, Conspiracy-X. A slow start, we are not the most experiences players, but praise for a great world/plot goes to Tuomo, our game master.

Today me and Tuomo were briefly interviewed among other summer students/workers. They had a TV camera but we don't know exactly where that footage will end up. Someone mentioned webcasting. Like we weren't famous already ;-)

<23:03> Tunnels. More tunnels. Today I wanted to get from the main building to the Proton Synchrotron. I know that's not exactly allowed/possible/safe, but at least to the doors. Well, now I know if I want to reach PS I'll rather do it via the surface.

As you get farther from the main cluster of offices, the tunnels get longer and narrower. So narrow you have to walk sideways (I hit my leading shoulder twice on some pipe racks). It is not fun any more. There were two ways to PS, one had a ladder which I couldn't get round - probably you could yank it up. Went to see what's up there and found myself in the middle of a parking lot (next to building 156/157 if you know). Tried the other route, and after even longer tunnels got into a rather industrial place with huge pressurized vessels, high voltage stuff, lots of pumps and piping. Had to go through, but the subsequent tunnel was wet and slippery with mud, I saw water leaking from the above. Add to that the narrowness, that was definitely not fun any more. Of course I got back via the tunnels. Found out that the industrial hall, building 200, was near Entrance B, quite far from the main buildings - considering how much shorter distances appear on the surface, out in the open. BTW, in the tunnels there is a dose of rat poison every now and then. I saw no rodents, guess that stuff is working ;-)

OK, so I may not get into PS via the underground. However, from building 200 there is another tunnel towards the French side.. ;-j

Fri, Jul 20

<13:42> Life starting to look better: got a bike. This is one of CERN's staff bikes, it's as good as my own in Finland (21 gear hybrid/citybike) and a lot better than the one I have in Cambridge. Moreover, just found out that there's a little shop of tax free goods here - apparently it's located in the international area in the Swiss-French border, though you cannot notice the border inside CERN (which is a kind of an international area in itself). Those Victorinox prices are getting even lower than I thought :-)

Thu, Jul 19

<00:09> A long-awaited update here with something to read. Got a project to work on using CERN's F77 libraries. Couldn't think of a suitably mixed emoticon, but the letters F77 should be enough of an !(:-D).

<21:40> 1.5 h of yoga today with a class, in French of course. Too bad it was the last class for a long time, but the practice room seems pretty good. Not that there's nothing else to do during free time, we're working on a RPG :-).

Thu, Jul 12

<22:45> Tuesday night at Charly's Pub was nice. This was in Saint Genis, a small town (size of CERN :-) on the French side, half an hour's walk away. Pricey though, but not as ridiculously as almost everything here in Geneva. I don't believe Helvetia in general is that expensive, but given Geneva's international fame not unlike New York or London, they can set the prices as they like. Victorinox knives are very reasonably priced though.

Trekking to StG today for some essential shopping showed the interesting fact that while a glass of orange juice costs about 2.50 CHF here at the canteen, a litre of triple-fruit juice at the 'Champion' store costs 5.95 FRF (1 CHF = 4 FRF = 4 FIM). Talking about pricey.

I've actually started working today, fixing up a Cerenkov detector of the HARP experiment where I'm involved. Nothing else seems to work though. Surprising how disorganized it all seems, it looks like while my supervisor is away I cannot really start my project within HARP, but at least I should be learning a lot about it.

Plus, of course the technofetishist in me frustrated while my computer accounts are not working. It does not help that the person who them up and should have the passwords, is away for two weeks. Of course it would be neat to get back online -- the library here has freely available boxes with Netscape and telnet (running Linux of course :-) but that's quite lame after all. Willow needs to get online and update this bloody diary. Most importantly, I'm continuously missing tons of cool events by/for the summer students here, as I don't have a local email address, as well as the work-related mail.Perhaps I could join some of the mailing lists with my address... but the library terminals are really annoying to use when there's something like a TB-850/256MB waiting for me in my office. Recalling my university accounts that were there already when I started @cam.

These unusually large bursts of diary data may be resulting from lack of good discussion. Somehow it has happened that the people around me either don't speak English that well (OK, I really should recap my Deutsch and maybe try some Francais..) or are Finnish (did I come all the way here to talk about army stuff and drinking? OK it did happen @cam too) :-/

Sun, Jul 8

<22:19> Last night in Helsinki, meeting Tommi and Esa. In fact by business there was this morning's flight to Geneva via Zürich. I screwed up local transportation in Helsinki quite badly (i.e. not checking thoroughly when the last bus leaves for the airport) but fortunately I managed to take the bus from Geneva airport to CERN today.

Funny, this is quite like a physics department but the size of a town. A topologically hopeless maze of interconnected buildings. At dinnertime I bumped into two Finns and they've told me lots of interesting stuff. For instance, there are about 300 summer students here, only half of which applied via the 'official' route. The other half is through universities and similar organizations. Of those 300, there are 27 Finns (lot more than any other nation :-). The guys also showed me the 'little Finland', a cluster of several offices occupied by Finns, even having their own bulletin board in Finnish.

It's bloody expensive here. As if they used the same price tags as in Finland, except the currency is four times as precious. Gotta shop for food n' stuff in France, which is nearby - even this part of CERN is split between the two countries.

Henri (btw from Varkaus :-) and Tuomo have lots of plans for weekends such as visiting the UN HQ and some place in Italy. Should be good. Unfortunately it seems that we'll have no business in the accelerator tunnels, with the current LEP -> LHC rebuild. But anyway. So far this seems like a fun place. Tuesday's the night of meeting lots of other summer students at a nearby pub.

Wed, Jul 4

<02:41> Past the indulgence at the Hog Feast, the mind is now directed towards the experimental and computational feats at CERN. Glad to know now that I'll be more on the software side of things, and my personal box will be a Linux PC. So looking pretty attractive, though I know moving abroad will be a huge challenge. But having done that once before, experience tells it's well worth the trouble.

Risto A. Paju