ISAPP: nurturing new astroparticle physicists

The International School on Astroparticle Physics (ISAPP) completed its tenth year of organizing European doctoral schools on astroparticle physics with two schools, attended by more than 60 PhD students from 12 countries. The first school, "Multimessenger approach in High Energy Astrophysics", was held in Paris and was devoted to high-energy phenomena from cosmic rays to gamma rays, high-energy neutrinos and gravitational waves. The second, "CMB and High Energy Physics", was held on La Palma in the Canary Islands and covered topics from the early universe to clusters of galaxies and large-scale structures.

The ISAPP schools are organized by the ISAPP network, which includes 33 Institutions from 10 different European countries. They are dedicated to European doctoral students from nuclear-particle physics and cosmology and astrophysics, who traditionally do not mix together. The schools, which began in 2003 in Italy aim at creating a new type of specialist: the astroparticle physicist (CERN Courier October 2011 p41).

The format is designed to address topics that are relevant to astroparticle physics. Therefore, each school covers one topic selected from high-energy astrophysics, neutrinos in physics and astrophysics, dark matter, dark energy, cosmology, the cosmic microwave background, the early universe and gravitational waves. The formal training is complemented by discussions and poster presentations by the students.

ISAPP is planning two schools for 2013. The first will be organized in Spain at the Canfranc Underground Laboratory. Held on 14–23 July, it will be dedicated to "Neutrino Physics and Astrophysics". The second will be organized in Sweden, on 29 July – 6 August, and will cover "Dark Matter Composition and Detection".

For more information on the ISAPP network, as well as the programmes, organizers, teachers and classes for the 2013 schools and all previous schools, see

Celebrating synchrotrons and a special scientist

Friends, family and colleagues past and present gathered for a one-day symposium, "Instruments of Discovery: Past and Future of Synchrotron Light Sources," held at SLAC on 2 October to honour accelerator physicist Herman Winick. His 50-plus years as a builder of synchrotrons and as a champion of synchrotron radiation as a tool for discovery and development began at the Cambridge Electron Accelerator in 1959. However, these activities really took off when he arrived in Stanford in 1973 to lead the technical design of what was then known as the Stanford Synchrotron Radiation Project and is now the Stanford Synchrotron Radiation Lightsource (SSRL).

The symposium immediately preceded the SSRL/LCLS Users’ Meeting at SLAC and included speakers who talked about Herman’s contributions to the development of specialized magnets, insertion devices and free-electron lasers, as well as his activities in promoting both human rights and the development of synchrotron sources around the world.

For details about the symposium, see Instruments of Discovery: Past and Future of Synchrotron Light Sources, A Symposium to Honor Herman Winick

New school links Europe and the Asia-Pacific region

The first Asia-Europe-Pacific School of High-Energy Physics (AEPSHEP) took place in Fukuoka, Japan, on 14–27 October.

The high degree of interest in this new school was reflected in the large number of applications – almost 200. A competitive selection was made based on the application forms and letters of recommendation from professors and supervisors, taking into account the area of study and the level of the candidates. An important criterion in the selection was the potential of the student to pursue a successful career in particle-physics research.

A total of 83 students attended the school from institutes in 21 different countries. About 70% of whom were from Asia-Pacific countries, with most of the others coming from Europe. More than 80% of the participants were working towards a PhD, while most of the others were advanced Masters students. Some 80% of the students were experimentalists, although the school was also open to phenomenologists. The lecturers and discussion leaders also came from many different countries, including Australia, China, France, Germany, India, Japan, Korea, Russia, Spain, Switzerland, Taiwan and the UK.

The programme required the active participation of the students. In addition to discussion sessions that addressed questions from the lecture courses, there was an evening session in which many students presented posters about their own research work to their colleagues and the teaching staff. The high level of interest could be gauged by the fact that discussion of the posters continued into the early hours of the following morning.

Collaborative student projects in which groups of about 14 students worked together on an in-depth study of a published experimental data analysis were an important activity. This required working together, outside the formal teaching sessions, with colleagues from different countries and different cultures. A student representative of each of the six groups presented a short summary of the conclusions of the group’s work in a special evening session whose attendees included the directors-general of CERN and KEK, both of whom also delivered lectures on the final day of the school.

A strong team from KEK, as well as from Kyushu and Saga Universities, provided excellent local organization. The staff and students were housed in comfortable accommodation in the Luigans resort, which also provided excellent conference facilities and a pleasant environment for informal interactions between participants.

In addition to teaching an intensive scientific programme, the school aimed at fostering cultural exchange between participants of different nationalities. The organizers mixed students from different countries when they assigned them to shared bedrooms and to the six discussion groups that met most afternoons. Leisure activities included a full-day excursion to the Mt Aso volcano, and a half-day excursion to Dazaifu where the group visited a Buddhist temple and a Shinto shrine as well as the Kyushu national museum.

Feedback from the participants after the school was extremely positive in terms of the appreciation of the scientific programme, the quality of the teaching, the practical organization and, especially, the aspects of cultural exchange and of building working relationships between promising young scientists from different countries. The next event in the series, to be held in India in 2014, aims to build on the success of the first school.

CAS introduces accelerator physics in Spain

The CERN Accelerator School (CAS) and the University of Granada jointly organized a course on Introduction to Accelerator Physics in Granada, on 28 October – 9 November 2012. The course attracted more than 200 applicants from which 139 students were selected to attend, representing 25 different nationalities and coming from countries as far away as Australia, China, Guatemala and India.

The programme comprised a mixture of lectures, seminars, tutorials, a poster session and seven hours of guided and private study. Feedback from the students praised the expertise of the lecturers, as well as the high standard and quality of their lectures. In addition, CERN’s director-general, Rolf Heuer, presented a public lecture about the LHC at the Parque de las Ciencias. The students also had the opportunity to visit the well known caves at Nerja and the famous Alhambra site.

The next CAS course will be a specialized one on Superconductivity for Accelerators, to be held in Erice on 24 April – 4 May 2013. The next course on general accelerator physics will be at a higher level and held in Norway in late summer. For further information, see

UBS supports Turkish summer students

Every year, CERN invites undergraduate students from around the world to work at the laboratory as part of its summer student programme. The students stay at CERN for 8–13 weeks, working for research teams and attending a dedicated lecture series. The programme gives them the opportunity not only to develop their skills as physicists, computing specialists or engineers, but also to network.

Two students from Turkey, supported by the Swiss bank UBS, were among the 269 participants in 2012, who together represented 71 nationalities. Çağlar Kutlu is currently studying physics and electronics engineering at Istanbul Technical University, and Firat Yilmaz is studying physics, electrical engineering and computing at Bilkent University, Ankara. Two representatives from the UBS Turkey desk in Geneva – Edward Ipekdjian and Mustafa Karadag – took the opportunity to meet the students for lunch during their time at CERN. This was the third time that the bank has provided support for Turkish students.

UBS has made this commitment to bringing young people from Turkey to CERN’s summer student programme to contribute in a small way to the education of future talents in a country that has a future not only in the banking sector, but also in education, innovation and science. For CERN, the participation of the Turkish students provides a valuable bridge between CERN and Turkey, a link that is currently being enhanced.


Deputy minister for science and technology empowerment for the Republic of Indonesia, Idwan Suhardi, right, was welcomed to CERN on 25 October by CERN’s director for research and scientific computing, Sergio Bertolucci. The deputy minister’s visit also included tours of the LHC superconducting magnet test hall and the Antiproton Decelerator facility.

On 15 November His Holiness the XIIth Gyalwang Drukpa, Jigmé Pema Wangchen, visited CERN together with an entourage of Buddhist nuns. During his trip to CERN he received a general introduction to CERN’s activities and toured the LHC superconducting magnet test hall, the ATLAS Visitor Centre and the Universe of Particles exhibition in the Globe of Science and Innovation.

During a visit to CERN on 26–27 November, Brittany Michelle Wenger, Google Science Fair Grand Prize Winner, centre, and her mother, Camilla Glazer Wenger, right, passed through the CERN Control Centre accompanied by Mike Lamont, CERN Beams Department, Operation Group Leader, left. Wenger won the 2012 Grand Prize for her project that uses an artificial neural network to diagnose breast cancer – a non-invasive technique with significant potential for use in hospitals.