Meet our guides: Hassnae

Guide since: October 2021
Position: CERN Research Fellow in Experimental Physics
Languages: English, French, Arabic

Hassnae El JarrariI became a CERN guide because I wanted to expand my knowledge beyond my research topic and to explore other experimental sites. Little did I know how much excitement and challenges await me each time I lead a group of visitors.

At CERN, the diverse range of visitors creates a unique cultural experience as people come from different backgrounds and with varying scientific interests. They are often curious to verify information they have heard about CERN in the media and elsewhere. However, language barriers can occasionally lead to amusing situations. For example, I once had a group of visitors who spoke neither English nor French, so I had to use my imagination to create a universal scientific language to guide them through the Synchrocyclotron and ATLAS Visitor Centre facilities.

Throughout my time as a CERN guide, I have had many unforgettable moments that have only deepened my appreciation for the work that we do. One experience that stands out is when I had the pleasure of meeting a five-year-old boy and his parents who were visiting for his birthday. Despite his young age, this child had an impressive understanding of particle physics and the activities taking place at CERN. I couldn’t help but wonder if he was one of those rare geniuses who start university at a young age. To my surprise, his parents informed me that they don’t have any physics books at home and that his knowledge has solely come from the internet. His enthusiasm for the subject was truly inspiring and I couldn’t help but think that I may have been in the presence of a future physicist.

Another vivid memory was when an American father approached me after his visit and asked if I could help him get in touch with his high-school daughter in the US. She was interested in physics but lacked a female role model to explore and pursue her passion. We are still exchanging emails whenever she needs guidance or information. Her father has even promised to bring her to CERN at the first opportunity.

I was also part of the ATLAS virtual visits and initiated a programme dedicated to Moroccan universities and high schools. These virtual visits proved to be an effective means of promoting not only the ATLAS experiment but also CERN’s overall activities to a wider audience, resulting in an increased number of Moroccan students and visitors at CERN.

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