UAA 15th anniversary event in Geneva: CERN

09 May 2018 in The Network, Alumni by Mireia Hernandez (UAA Communication Officer) on behalf of Matthias Untergassmair (LCC Switzerland), Franziska Bosshard (LCC Switzerland), Audrey Pascal (LCC France)

UAA 15th anniversary event in Geneva: CERN

On Saturday, March 3rd, 2018, we headed to Geneva for a day filled with science and culinary treats: a visit of the CERN research facilities in the morning, followed by a chocolate tasting at chocolaterie Stettler and tapas at OleOle bar. The event was organized by LCC France and Switzerland together in order to celebrate the UAA’s 15th anniversary.

We were particularly happy about the very diverse group of participants, which consisted of 27 Alumni from 6 different locations and 8 UNITECH years.


In the initial presentation at CERN we learned many interesting facts. For example, did you know that

  • CERN was started in 1954 as a joint European effort to bring particle research back to Europe after the leading particle physicists had moved to the US to join the Manhattan project.
  • The area on - or better, below - which CERN is built is international territory, and it has its own firefighters, hospital and even head of state.
  • While the budget of CERN is huge (more than 1 billion Swiss Francs per year), the per capita contribution of citizens in the 22 member states is only a few Swiss Francs per year.

After the introductory presentation, CERN employees showed us around the facility and gave us deeper insights into the functioning of the Large Hadron Collider (LHC), which is currently the largest particle collider in the world, colliding protons at speeds only 3.1m/s below the speed of light. Thanks to collision experiments like these, in 2013 CERN had collected enough experimental data to prove the existence of the Higgs boson, the fundamental particle that gives all other particles their mass, which had been postulated by Peter Higgs in 1964, almost 50 years before he received the Nobel Prize for his work.

We also learned about other experiments that are hosted at CERN, such as the AMS (Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer). The AMS is a particle detector which is now attached to the International Space Station (ISS) with the mission of analyzing cosmic radiation in space. The control room for the experiment is hosted at CERN, where the detector was also initially built and tested.

Although the primary goal of CERN is to carry out fundamental research, it has lead to technological inventions with high practical value, most notably through the invention of the World Wide Web by Tim Berners Lee in 1989. He wanted to use the existing internet infrastructure for sharing scientific papers digitally rather than sending them as hard-copies from one researcher to another. Another application of technologies developed at CERN is ‎Hadron Therapy which - although still very expensive - provides an effective treatment of cancer by bombarding malicious cancer cells with charged particles and leaving the surrounding healthy tissue unaffected.

Chocolaterie Stettler and OleOle Bar

After a science-packed morning, we headed back to the city center of Geneva where we indulged ourselves in a delicious chocolate tasting “Passion Chocolat” at chocolaterie Stettler. We learned about some of the most important types of cocoa beans and about the surprisingly complex process that is required to turn them into the delicious chocolate we know and love today. Finally, under the competent advice of the shop owner, we were able to taste a selection of premium chocolate pralines.

We ended our day with a walk along the picturesque, snow covered lake shore of Geneva and tapas and drinks at the OleOle bar.

Alice Brauchart, 2016
Andreas Michalski, 2017
Anna-Brit Schaper, 2016
Audrey Pascal, 2016
Baptiste Uhalde, 2017
Blandine Vialle, 2017
Clément Pozzi, 2017
David Bach, 2016
Dushyant Gowreesunker, 2017
Eduard Añón, 2005
Elise Larsson, 2017
Eoin Oude Essink, 2017
Erika Busnelli, 2004
Franziska Bosshard, 2013
Friedrich Von Bülow, 2017
Irina Penzo Feliu de Cabrera, 2008

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