A former student of Nelson and Colne College Sixth Form, Joshua Dawes has achieved the dream start to his career, by gaining a year’s placement at CERN in Geneva, where he will work with the world renowned Large Hadron Collider.

Nelson and Colne College Sixth Form has an outstanding reputation for excellence in STEM subjects and Joshua, who studied Computer Science, Mathematics and Physics gained excellent grades, allowing him to take up a place to read Computer Science and Mathematics at the University of Manchester. The College is always thrilled to learn of its students’ on-going success and was therefore excited to learn of Joshua’s accomplishment in gaining a prestigious placement working at CERN – one of the world’s leading centres for computer science and physics research, and the home of the most powerful particle accelerator in the world!

During his year in Geneva, Joshua will complete his own project, working with a team of Computer Scientists at the CMS Experiment, which is part of the Large Hadron Collider (LHC). The CMS detector itself has a mass of approximately 12,500 tonnes, twice as heavy as the Eiffel tower, and along with the ATLAS Experiment, helped to discover the Higgs’ Boson – otherwise known as the God Particle! Joshua will write tools which allow physicists to interact with the system by giving instructions as ‘code’; the system will then interpret the instructions and display and manage the data accordingly.

It is a highly prestigious work placement, as CERN only accept 100 students per year. In order to apply, Joshua had to complete a rigorous application process which took around 2 weeks and found out in December 2014 that he had been successful.

Joshua is understandably excited to have gained a place with CERN and said, “To get into CERN is amazing, my dream job really, but then to find out that I would be working on the LHC is quite brilliant! The experience of working on the CMS experiment on the LHC before I’ve graduated from University is an achievement I won’t easily top! I’m looking forward to living in Geneva and seeing the Lake and Alps, and working at the CERN site, which is a small city in itself!  Since the LHC is running at full energy for the first time in 2015, software I work on will handle data that will help physicists to write new physics – I really can’t wait!”
He went on to say, “I’d like to thank the College who recognised my achievement and my tutor Dan Forrester for his reference on my application. I also thank my maths tutor Jo Turner, whose patience during my first year is the reason why I now study Mathematics. My respect for the University of Manchester is also immense; it is the home of the computer as we know it today and I have never felt a greater sense of belonging as an academic and scientist.  In my experience, Manchester earns its place in the top percentages of league tables. Collectively, the College and University are the reason for me being in the position where I can look forward to working at an internationally renowned laboratory.”

Students interested in learning what it is like to work at world renowned CERN should follow Joshua’s new blog https://ayearatcern.wordpress.com