Celebrating CERN Alumni Second Collisions Awardees

The theme of CERN alumni Second Collisions was ‘Research Matters’. For the first time ever we rewarded CERN alumni for their impact. There were two types of award up for grabs; the first awardees have been selected by the Second Collisions organising committee for their dedication and contribution to supporting and developing the CERN Alumni Network. This can be through managing groups and organising impactful events, providing content on alumni.cern, posting job opportunities or supporting other members of the Network as mentors. Recipients of the second type of award have been nominated by the CERN Directorate for their illustrious and impactful careers following their departure from CERN.

The winners' trophy is a masterpiece which has been conceived, designed and manufactured at CERN!  Discover the story behind the award and our CERN alumni awardees in the following video clip.


Octavio Dominguez:
Octavio was a teenager when his motivation to become a teacher began. He wanted to inspire young people and instil the same love for learning as well as a sense of being useful to society that his school teachers had sparked in him. Following University, he decided to do a PhD at CERN which would not only be personally enriching, but would enable him to give more to his future students. His students find the fact he has had a professional experience at CERN truly inspiring. Since he started working as a teacher, just after he finished his PhD at CERN, he has also focused a lot on promoting equality in schools in general, and in particular in his subject, trying to get more female students, BAME students and students from deprived areas interested in Mathematics and Science.

Professor Jonathan Gregory FRS:
Jonathan Gregory is a climate scientist, employed since 2003 at the National Centre for Atmospheric Science in the University of Reading (where he is a professor in the Department of Meteorology), and since 1990 at the Met Office Hadley Centre (currently as a Science Fellow). He changed his area of research after his PhD in experimental particle physics (at CERN)because of scientific interest in and personal concern about climate change caused by human activities.

He studies large-scale multidecadal physical processes of change in the climate system, using three-dimensional global models and observational evidence. He has made significant contributions to refining the concept and the evaluation of climate sensitivity (the magnitude of warming caused by increases in greenhouse gases), and to the projection of future sea-level change from ocean warming, ocean circulation change, and loss of ice on land (glaciers and ice-sheets).

He was a lead author of the last three Assessment Reports of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. He is one of the leaders of the World Climate Research Programme's Grand Challenge on sea-level change.

Patrick Illinger:
Patrick Illinger studied Physics in Munich. After a PhD on antimatter at the European research center CERN in Geneva, he turned to journalism. He completed a radio and television training at the German public TV/radio station ARD, where among other things he filmed a documentary about the war in Bosnia. He then worked as a science editor for the German news magazine Focus. In 1997 Illinger was hired by the Süddeutsche Zeitung, the leading German daily paper, where he became the founding editor of sueddeutsche.de, the online edition of the SZ. In 2002 he was appointed head of the science desk at the Süddeutsche Zeitung.

Christina Yin Vallgren:
Before coming to CERN, Christina earned a MSc degree in nuclear physics from Chalmers University of Technology, Sweden and was summer student at CERN in 2007. Right after her degree in nuclear physics, Christina came to CERN in 2008 for a PhD in applied physics. Since then, she spent 12 years at CERN. She was the main responsible for the LHC (Large Hadron Collider, 27 km, the world’s biggest accelerator) Beam Vacuum (the world’s biggest vacuum system) Operation and has also been supervisor for five master students and two fellows. From time to time, she is also active scientific journal referee for IEEE Transactions on Nuclear Science.
In 2019, she co-founded Terapet SA, a Geneva-based MedTech company together with Dr. Marcus Palm, a former CERN-physicist and Prof. Raymond Miralbell, former head of the Radiation Oncology Department at HUG and currently Medical Director at QuirónSalud, the first proton therapy facility in Spain.

Professor Tien-Tien Yu:
Tien-Tien Yu is an Assistant Professor of Physics at the University of Oregon in Eugene, OR. Prior to arriving at UO in 2018, she was a fellow in the CERN Theory Group in Geneva, Switzerland and a postdoctoral associate at the CN Yang Institute for Theoretical Physics at Stony Brook University. She received her PhD from the University of Wisconsin in Madison, WI and spent two years of her PhD in the theory group at Fermilab in Batavia, IL.

Professor Yu’s research focuses on searches for dark matter candidates lighter than a proton. She is a founding member of the SENSEI collaboration, which utilizes silicon CCDs to detect sub-GeV dark matter. She is also interested in ultralight dark matter candidates and has proposed methods to search for imprints of these candidates via cosmological and astrophysical signatures.

Pedro Paul Alvarez:
A Texas native, Pedro Paul Alvarez’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. Back in Houston, Texas, 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 contributed to the city’s sports landscape and is now COVID-19 contract tracking team lead. Pedro Paul is the CERN Alumni Texas group founder and member of the CERN Alumni Advisory Board..

Caroline Boudou:
Caroline is an industrial liaison engineer at the Institut Laue-Langevin since 2016.  She is in charge of promoting neutron techniques and she assist industrials during measurements at neutron centres offered by the SINE2020 project. Caroline studied applied Physics and spent her PhD time at ESRF, working on dosimetry for radiotherapy within an INSERM team. She was a CERN Summer Student in 2001 and a keen supporter of the CERN Alumni Network.

Simone Callegari:
Simone spent two years at CERN as a fellow from 2017 to 2019. He is experienced in mechanical components design and manufacturing, and is proud to have contributed to international engineering projects. At CERN he took part in the innovation of vacuum operations with an 80k budget, and now, after expanding his knowledge with an MBA, he looks forward to working on an exciting project in Germany or Switzerland. Simone has published a Science and Engineering blog on alumni.cern.

Julia Hellström:
Julia is a Swedish product design engineer with specialisation in materials technology. She finds the combination of product development, material science and innovation fascinating and her various work experiences have taught her to work internationally, in teams and to manage projects. Julia is Project Manager at Chalmers Industriteknik for Big Science Sweden and has liaised with CERN Talent acquisition to promote student opportunities at CERN.

Mait Müntel :
Mait is an entrepreneur with a background in nuclear physics. After being part of the discovery team of Higgs boson in 2013 he co-founded a company Lingvist to help people learn 10 times more efficiently using the same algorithms from particle physics. Mait is a frequent and appreciated contributor to CERN Alumni and Entrepreneurship events.

Spyros Papadopoulos:
Spyros was a CERN Fellow between 2009 and 2011, he has subsequently co-founded the CERN Alumni London group and is a serving member of the CERN Alumni Advisory board. Spyros has several year's experience working as a Quantitative Analyst.

Fatima Soomro:
Fatima completed her PhD at Imperial College London, working on rare decays at the LHCb experiment.  She continued to lead rare decay analyses at LHCb, while being part of the INFN and later, EPFL, group. Since 2015, Fatima has found her passion in helping businesses use their data. During her time at ELCA Informatique and Expedia, she has worked on a wide variety of projects related to business intelligence and data handling. She currently works for Argusa, a start-up consulting firm based in Lausanne. Fatima is a regular contributor to the alumni network with content and as a former member of the CERN Alumni Advisory board.

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