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Old loves die hard: My story with CERN

I must have been somewhere between 5 and 7 years of age when I proudly announced to my father that, one day, I would be a scientist at NASA or CERN; didn't matter much which. I was fascinated by both the very big and the very small aspects of nature, wherein I intuited the presence of profound, numinous mysteries. I guess my father was both proud and a little amused. He knew he had, intentionally or not, fostered my interest in science by exposing me to it practically since I started talking.

Less than 20 years later, my very first real job in life was at CERN; a childhood dream come true very early indeed. My first day at work was something like Alice in Wonderland: colleagues had fun pointing out all the Nobel Prize Laureates that could be seen sitting around us in the canteen during lunch, amused by the expression of wonder permanently pasted to my face. I felt like a child surrounded by giants.

I cannot overestimate the impact that period of my life had on me. To a large exte…

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