CERN Alumni : First collisions

Feb 02, 2018 13:00 -
Feb 03, 2018 19:00 CET
CERN, Route de Meyrin 341, 1217 Meyrin, Switzerland
Download the event poster Click here to register Download the programme


CERN Alumni First Collisions: First reunion at CERN

Come back to CERN on 2 and 3 February, 2018 and we guarantee you will enjoy a unique set of talks and networking events which will make your return to Geneva unforgettable. Listen to inspiring guest speakers, explore today's experimental areas with special tours and meet alumni from all over the world. Dine in the extraordinary venue we have chosen for our main social event - your best moment to reconnect as well as network with an entirely new circle of people. 

Are you missing CERN’s unique atmosphere? Does this include the food of restaurants R1 and R2, skiing, live music (from CERN Clubs) and other once familiar facilities? We have packed all this together, blended it and will be serving-up an exciting programme of activities to help you make the most of your time back at CERN. The opportunity to reunite at CERN at the first ever event is unique; there is a limited number of places available so you need to book a free ticket to come!

Important dates

15 January 2018: general deadline for registering. However, please note that there is only a limited number of tickets available in total. You will be able to book your ticket only up until the limit of 360 is reached.

19 January 2018: general deadline for making modifications to your  and your accompanying persons' reservations. 

All information about the event - as well as the registration form - may be found at   If you have any question or experience any difficulties in filling the registration form, please contact us at 

The programme in short

The event will start on Friday just after lunch and will continue until the end of Saturday. Talks will be interspersed with networking opportunities whilst the Saturday afternoon will be dedicated to exclusive guided tours for participants. The detailed programmed will be shared, once the participants have been selected. Don’t delay, register NOW and be our guest.  Both the visits and the ski outing (more information soon) are open to families so you will be able to register extra people after your own participation is confirmed.

Friday: Inspiring Plenary Sessions and the Main Social Event: Dinner in the CMS Experimental Hall

The event’s theme is “A Diverse Community with Unique Career Trajectories”, that is to say, the broad and varied range of careers that alumni pursue after their work experience at CERN . The amazing speakers invited to present at the first ever kick-off event will reflect this inspiring principle perfectly. We are thrilled to announce the following guest speakers:

    A musician, TV and radio presenter and, of course, professor of particle physics, Brian has thus far enjoyed a very eclectic career, including as user in the ATLAS collaboration, from 2002 to 2008. Who better than Brian to share his thoughts in his talk about science and communication.

    Pierre served CERN for many years during which he conducted several experiments which contributed to the development of The Standard Model of elementary particles, that we know today. After he retired, he moved to Vietnam where he works for the development of scientific research and higher academic education. He will cover for us CERN in the past century and will tell us how his experience as a Cernois guides him in his Vietnamese adventure.

    The first Swedish citizen in space who carried out several space walks when he was a crew member of the STS-116 Space Shuttle. Prior to reaching out for the stars he was a CERN fellow between 1988 and 1990. At First Collisions he will elucidate “why he swapped the CERN Underground installations for the vast expanse of space”

    A CERN fellow from 1985 to 1988, today Anne is Chief Executive at M&G Investments. Anne is a regular speaker at conferences around the world on a wide variety of business, investment, pensions, economic and market related topics but she also keeps very strong links with science and CERN, where she is a member of the CERN & Society Foundation. At First Collisions, Anne will address the links between economy and science.

    His experience ranges from being a professional musician, to developing projects and thought leadership in many important issues around the world. André who is now CEO of Geneva Airport was once upon a time a scientific associate at CERN from 1990-1991. Going from physics to running an airport is quite a change or perhaps not so much? At First Collisions, André will tell us how you can “be geographically close to CERN, but worlds apart (or not?) at Geneva Airport?

The dinner, which is the main social event of the CERN Alumni First Collisions will take place at the construction hall of the CMS Experiment, at P5 of the LHC, in Cessy (France). The hall will be transformed into a venue fit for this unique event, while keeping its authentic charm of a CERN experimental site. You'll be our special guests for the occasion!

Saturday morning: Thought-Provoking Parallel Sessions

We are keen for you to get the most out of this reunion at CERN, so are also preparing a series of interactive parallel sessions, on a series of topical questions, presented by recognised experts within the various fields. Meet some of the confirmed panelists:

    Sabrina Gonzalez Pasterski is proud alumna of the European Organization for Nuclear Research here in Geneva and is currently a graduate student at the Center for the Fundamental Laws of Nature, Harvard’s High Energy Physics-theory group.  She joined Markus Klute’s Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Compact Muon Solenoid team in 2011 and spent the Summers of 2012 and 2013 at CERN. She interned at Blue Origin, NASA's Kennedy Space Center and Boeing Phantom Works before joining CMS. The title of her talk will be 'That's nice, but what have you done lately?'
    Zeblon is Deputy Vice-Chancellor of Wits University in South Africa. After a Fellowship with ALICE, Zeblon went on to have a bright career: he served as a chairman of the International Atomic Energy Agency's Standing Advisory Committee on Nuclear Applications from 2009 to 2011 and in 2010 he was nominated by the World Economic Forum as a Young Global Leader and is a member of the Academy of Sciences of South Africa. At First Collisions, Zeblon will discuss "What are the perceived benefits of particle physics research  and related investments within the African Continent".
    Elina refers to herself as "originally a particle physicist" as she was a member of the ATLAS Collaboration. She applied her skills as a great algorithm developer to create an app that has gone on to become the first app in the world to be approved as a contraceptive. As founder of NaturalCycles, at First Collisions Elina will share with us her experience and future challenges.
    Grace is an MIT ocean engineer, aquanaut, and scientist with Cousteau's Mission 31. She's currently a PhD student at University of Oxford, chief scientist for the Pisces VI deepsea submarine, and a National Geographic Emerging Explorer. Grace first came to CERN in 2010 as a CERN-Intel Special Award winner and subsequently returned in 2011 as a CERN openlab summer student.
    Maneesh Wadhwa has 17 years of experience in financial services. He is presently Head Innovation Management at SIX Swiss Exchange and is part of the team responsible for the strategy development. Maneesh manages employee innovation programs, work closely with FinTech Startups and Universities.  He has lead Culture Change workshops with top management to develop an action plan to achieve a revised culture, fostering SIX Swiss Exchange Vision, Strategy and Values.  Prior to joining SIX Swiss Exchange, he spent 12 years working at L3 Experiment at CERN. He has a doctorate degree in Physics from Savoie University, France.
    Pratibha Vikas has over 15 years’ experience in risk management in financial institutions. She worked at UBS from 2001 to 2014 in various key roles within Risk Control. From 2004 to 2008 she was a Program Manager in the Group CRO Program Office where she managed various global programs including the Risk Management and Control remediation plan to address the lessons learned from the sub-prime crisis and various streams of the Basel II program. She then held COO roles in the Group-wide and Investment Bank risk methodology functions and global Head of Operational Risk Control for Risk Control. From 2012 to 2014 she was appointed the COO of Firm-wide Treasury Risk Control to drive the definition and implementation of a comprehensive risk framework for treasury activities and build-up of the newly created function including resourcing, governance, tools and processes. She joined Leonteq Securities AG as Head of Operational Risk Control in 2015 to define and implement an operational risk framework. She joined Zurich in June 2016 as Head of Operational Risk Framework and was appointed to her current role in September 2016. Ms Vikas started her career as an experimental particle physicist and spent 13 years at CERN in Geneva. She was a Ph.D. student on L3 and worked as a postdoc on Opal and CMS.
    Luis del Pozo completed an experimental physics PhD at Cambridge University and was a fellow and then post-doc at CERN. He moved to the finance industry in 1998 and worked in several Geneva private banks in the fields of IT, trading, risk and treasury. He is now a management consultant with Capco where he leads teams to deliver change; creating and introducing new products, processes and operating models from front to back-offices. He has particularly deep expertise on trading products, markets, risk-measures and regulations and advises clients on Innovation, digital banking and all things data.
    Delia Rodríguez de Llera González, Ph.D., MBA, is currently a Business Mentor, Executive Coach, and Business Development Manager in the Aerospace and Defense Industry. She has over 15 years of international experience in research, Academia and industry. After starting her career at CERN she has shifted from very technical activities to business positions. Her technology and business background, and her passion for people come together to support colleagues, entrepreneurs, and executives in their development.
    Richard Mudd worked on the ATLAS experiment at CERN between 2011 and 2015, where Ph.D. his research focused on the exploration of the Higgs sector through studies of the coupling properties of the Higgs boson. After participating in the S2DS Data Science workshop, Richard moved to London in 2016 to work as a Data Scientist on Facebook's Marketing Science Research and Development team, where he focuses on developing scalable and scientifically robust advertising measurement and delivery systems.
    Alejandro Avilés is a software engineer with studies in machine learning, experience as full-stack web developer and passion for user experience. Alejandro worked at CERN during 4 years as a core member of the Indico project, an open source web application widely used in the HEP community for organizing conferences, seminars, and meetings. Right now, Alejandro is the CTO at Bity, a Swiss startup that offers financial services around Bitcoin, Ethereum, and other cryptocurrencies. They aim to help build a more decentralized world economy and fairer societies by exploring the new possibilities blockchain technologies open.
    Omer Khalid worked at CERN from 2005 - 2012 in various roles as technical student, doctoral researcher and Openlab Fellow while working on Atlas data acquisitions systems, LHC Grid and Beams department. Later he moved to the corporate sector working first at SAP and now oversees the technical deployment of Cloud projects for enterprise customers at Google. He has over 10 years professional experience, including 8 years of software engineering experience leading various projects from design to implementation phases.
    A Texas native, Pedro's interest for science began with his childhood visits to the Johnson Space Center. In 2004 he moved to Lugano, Switzerland to pursue a degree in International Communication. He joined CERN's KT- Life Sciences team in 2012 as an administrative student where he also volunteered for several high-profile events including the Higgs Boson announcement in 2012. After CERN, he completed an MBA in London & Dubai. Recently he has been involved in several recovery efforts for those displaced by hurricane Harvey. He is a member of K.D.St.V. Teutonia and resides in Houston where he contributes to the citys sports landscape.
    Paolo Berra, nuclear engineer and PhD physicist, worked for several years with CERN and the TERA Foundation, to develop particle accelerators for cancer therapy. Having then gone on to study Business Administration at Harvard (OPM), he is now a manager in the mechanical engineering industry, a business angel investor in High Tech start-ups as well as a columnist for science and innovation.

Saturday afternoon: Thematic visits or Workshops with companies

On Saturday afternoon, after the official programme is over, CERN’s doors will be open for you and your families: you will be able to choose the visit itinerary which best fits your schedule among no fewer than ten different options. Members of your families will be able to join you both for the visits (no charge but firm booking is required and age restrictions might apply).

If you would rather take part in workshops with CERN selected companies on two different topics, Knowledge transfer and Talent Management, you will have an opportunity to do so. Additionally you may also invite someone from your company who is a decision maker or influencer/recruiter. 

Sunday morning: if you still have some energy left...

Should you still have some energy left on Sunday, a ski outing in the Alps organised by the CERN Ski Club is a must! For those of you who wish to relive the ultimate CERN experience, and who are not accompanied by your families, we have made it possible for you to stay at the CERN Hostel..

I want to participate! What do I need to do next?

We will be collecting your bookings  until 15 January  2018.  If you wish to stay at the CERN Hostel,  please make sure that you book your room as soon as possible by filling in the form at and by sending it to .  

Don’t delay, book your place NOW  at  

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