13 May 2008

Katherine McAlpine

Nationality: Unitied States
Position: ATLAS e-News journalist/webmaster

Hi there!  As the ATLAS e-News bids Colin Barras farewell, I’ll be filling his shoes.  It is my good luck that we wear almost the same size.

I come from Michigan, the northern US state that looks like a mitten in the middle of the Great Lakes, and graduated from Michigan State University just last May (2007).  I knew from the start that I wanted to write science and decided that professional writing and physics would be an excellent combination.  As the writing courses included training in web design, I’m taking over that aspect of the e-News, so let me know if something goes amiss.

My research experience isn’t extensive, but I worked in the National Superconducting Cyclotron Laboratory at Michigan State University as a summer research student in 2006 and tried my hand at programming in FORTRAN77 (which I hear is still used in some circles at CERN).  Although it is exciting to look for phenomena that no one has seen before, my mind is better equipped for explaining the work to others who might not have specialized training.

I’ve worked as an intern for the American Physical Society outside Washington DC and as the temporary US LHC Communicator since graduation.  I enjoyed my time writing for the Physics Buzz, APS News, and tip sheets, but I jumped at the chance to come to CERN.  Alan Chodos, one of my supervisors at APS, put my name forward for a temporary position as US LHC Communicator while Katie Yurkewicz, who usually does the job, went on maternity leave.  Now that she’s back, I’m thrilled to be sticking around at CERN as we expect the first beams in the LHC this summer!