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Texas A&M at Qatar student interns with CERN Detector Technology Program

Published Oct 05, 2016

Mechanical engineering student Fahad Al-Thani was awarded a place in a prestigious summer internship program at CERN in the Detector Technology Program in Switzerland for eight weeks.

With funding from Qatar Foundation Research and Development (QF R&D), Al-Thani is the second Qatari student to travel to Switzerland for a CERN internship. The first Qatari student to go to CERN was Abdulla Al-Suwaidi in summer 2015.

Al-Thani said the first six weeks of the internship consisted of attending lectures centered on the future accelerators technologies, several workshops and testing Gas Electron Multiplier (GEM) detectors. He said he was excited to have received this unique training and research experience.

“I think the internship was a great opportunity for me to see in person the testing and manufacturing of the CMS GEM detectors,” he said. “I have also enjoyed meeting and working with new people from all around the world, and gaining knowledge and experience from them.”

Al-Thani is an undergraduate researcher under the direction of Dr. Othmane Bouhali, research associate professor and director of research computing at Texas A&M at Qatar, leads Texas A&M at Qatar’s endeavors with CERN where he has contributed for the past 20 years. Bouhali’s research group — including Al-Thani — recently received an Undergraduate Research Experience Program (UREP) grant from the Qatar National Research Fund for a project that aims to conduct a comprehensive simulation program for charged particle detectors to be used in future medical and accelerator applications.

Bouhali said, “Last year our UREP project won first place in Qatar for the work we have performed with the CERN collaboration. This new UREP project involves four new students who will get introduced to detector technology, simulation programs and advanced experimental statistical analysis.”

The CERN summer program is offered to students studying physics, computing or engineering, and allows them the unique opportunity to join the day-to-day work of research teams in Geneva, Switzerland. CERN, founded in 1954, is the largest research center in the world for high energy physics research.

Thanks to the Qatar team’s research endeavors, QF R&D recently signed an international cooperative agreement with CERN, and student training and internships such as Al-Thani’s is one outcome of the agreement.

Texas A&M at Qatar dean Dr. César O. Malavé said, “At Texas A&M at Qatar, we encourage our students to seek out real-world, hands-on experiences — especially international ones — to enhance the value of their degrees. These experiences help to better prepare students for the workplace after they graduate, and give students valuable skills they will need to lead Qatar’s engineering future. We are proud of Fahad for taking on this challenge and for his foresight in investing in his career through this internship.”