Friday, July 13, 2012

Last Week In Geneva :(

            I know I keep saying it but I am SHOCKED by how quickly my time in Geneva went by! I feel like I just arrived here and was getting lost on the bus system and feeling hopelessly confused- but now its time to leave! I had a really great week this week because I got to do all of the things that I have been meaning to do since I’ve been in Geneva and just didn’t get a chance to yet! However it has definitely been a little bittersweet because I am so sad to leave!
            Monday evening was definitely one of my favorite evenings here! After work, myself and two girls from my Hostel, Brooke and India, went grocery shopping for a picnic! Then, we ate on our roof, watched the sunset and talked. One of our topics of discussion was how much we enjoy the European lifestyle. All of the stores close at 7:00PM on weekdays so after work, there isn’t much to do but relax and spend time with people! We talked about how nice it is to just sit and enjoy a nice meal and not have to be constantly rushing off to the next appointment or meeting. I know this lifestyle is obviously going to be difficult to maintain when I get home and start senior year but I definitely want to try to make more of an effort, at least sometimes, to sit down and enjoy a great meal with great friends and absolutely no sense of urgency to finish! J


DELICIOUS Macaroons! 

Our view during dinner! 

            Tuesday was a really exciting day for me because I was given the opportunity to visit CERN, a nuclear research facility, where the researchers working there just discovered a new particle! I am by no means a scientist so I was a little bit nervous about what I was going to see while at CERN and if I was going to understand any of it! But, the visit ended up being wonderful! It was a special tour organized by the CERN interns for UN interns so the tour was given by people around my age who did a great job of explaining the complicated science that they are doing in very simple terms!
            When we first arrived, we got to see old particle accelerators and detectors that capture images of particles when they collide together. The interns explained that the focus of CERN is to discover how nature works and that they place a huge emphasis on the importance of teaching and sharing knowledge. Then, they explained a little bit to us about the “god” particle that was recently discovered. The particle was given its name by a magazine editor to emphasize its importance, not by researchers as is commonly thought! (The researchers have a crude term for the particle because it has been so elusive and quite a pain!) Basically, scientists were observing clusters of particles forming but did not understand why this was happening. They hypothesized that there is a very small particle (the Higgs Particle) that was causing these particle clusters to form and they set out to understand why this is happening. They have been trying to prove this theory for 30 years and are using the biggest accelerator ever to do so! It is 37km in circumference and is underground in Geneva and the surrounding areas. I thought it was pretty interesting that he interns told us that the accelerator has the coldest temperatures in the universe when the particles are accelerating toward one another but then the highest temperatures in the universe when they collide! Scientists have been accelerating 200 billion protons toward 200 billion protons to try to form a collision so they can prove the existence of the Higgs Particle, and out of those 400 billion protons only 20 will collide!! As a result, these collisions are taking place almost all day everyday with scientists working around the clock to gather data! The interns told us that they gather 15 million GB of data each year and if they were to stack CD disks with that data on it, they would be 20 KM high, Mt. Everest is 8.8 KM high! WOW! After the seminar session when the interns explained to us the research they were doing, I was able to visit the site of the GIANT detector where they are recording the collisions- it was amazing! Overall, I was pretty confused throughout most of my visit to CERN but I think I retained some information and am definitely glad that I was able to visit such an incredible place!
(Disclaimer: It is entirely possible that I explained the Higgs particle completely wrong and if so I apologize! I just explained it as I understood it!)

Particle Detector

Another Particle Detector (It looks like a scuba diving mask to me) 

The room where they announced the discovery of the Higgs Particle!

I did a little research of my own when I was there!

Part of a particle accelerator
The size of the Detector we visited! WOW!
             On Wednesday, Fr. Olivier invited me to the Priory to have dinner with himself and the Dominicans he works with, along with Evelyn who works in the Dominican Delegation. I brought along my friend Susie who knows the Dominicans as well (she studied at Oxford!) and we had a wonderful evening! First, I went to my first ever French speaking Mass! It was a little confusing but for the most part I was able to follow along and with Susie’s help was not completely lost! After Mass we had dinner and then went for a walk. I am definitely going to miss how much everyone walks here- it is such a nice way to spend time together! We took a boat across the lake and enjoyed the beautiful sights of Geneva!
            After our walk, I joined some of my friends at an open-air salsa night! I am constantly amazed by how many incredible things there are to do in Geneva, it seems like there is always an event going on somewhere! I discovered that I can’t really salsa at all but I had a great time trying to dance with my friends and a few of them were able to give me some tips- it was so much fun!

            I had been looking forward to Thursday all week because Brooke, India and I decided to go out for fondue as a farewell dinner! We went to Café du Soleil and it was the BEST fondue I have ever had in my life!! We had a wonderful time sitting outside and talking and eating so much delicious food! I am so glad that we all got a chance to spend a little time together before we all part ways! (Brooke is in Geneva until August but India is leaving next week). After fondue, we went to another intern event in the city. It was really nice to get a chance to say goodbye to some of the interns that I have been spending time with and I am so grateful that the intern community has been so friendly and welcoming to me over my time here, it has definitely helped me to feel at home! 

Do you fonDO? 

            Today is my last day at the UN which feels a little surreal! I have been walking around and trying to take everything in before I leave! This afternoon I have a closing meeting with Fr. Olivier and Evelyn, it is definitely going to be difficult to ay goodbye to them both. I have had such an incredible time in Geneva and cannot possibly express how grateful I am to have had this opportunity! I know that I am definitely going to need some time to process and reflect upon the conclusion of my internship so hopefully I will post a closing reflection at some point soon! J

Thanks for reading! :) 


  1. Though you did a great job explaing your CERN visit Emily. Even I understood it!! Glad you got to enjoy some relaxing time with your friends before you left Geneva. Thanks for your was terrific!

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