MEMORIES from the 2008 European School of High-Energy Physics, Herbeumont-sur-Semois, Belgium, 8 June – 21 June 2008


Ninety-five students coming from thirty different countries attended the sixteen School in the new series of the European School of High-energy Physics, which took place in Herbeumont-sur-Semois, Belgium, from 8 to 21 June 2008.

The School was hosted in Eurovillage Les Fourches a hotel/vacation resort situated on a hilltop overlooking the valley of La Semois and close to Herbeumont, a picturesque village.

The registration took place in the lobby. IBA kindly offered coloured bag including a pad, a pen and a memory stick to every participant. The students were sharing twin rooms in nice bungalows spread over the large park.
The lectures were held in a conference room located in the central building where also smaller rooms were used for the discussion sessions.

Copies of the lecture material can be found at Link_Lectures
Jossi Nir's lecture material can be found here.

Tea, coffee and cookies were served in the "salle des pas perdus" in between the main lecture hall and the secretariat where Tatyana, Marleen (from VUB, Brussels) and Danielle were omnipresent. During the whole School Marleen was a great help to the Organizers in particular acting as the go-between each time a “logistic” or “linguistic” problem appeared.

Coffee break outside the lecture building

The meals (buffet style) were taken in a nice restaurant with a beautiful panoramic view on the hills of the Ardennes, and we were also using the nice wooden terrace when weather permitted.
During their free time the participants profited from the sport installations provided by Eurovillage, such as the large indoor swimming pool, tennis courts and table tennis. From Eurovillage it was possible to walk into the surrounding forest and to the village where main attractions where the ruins of the Castle and also the bank of La Semois.

At night the cozy bar attracted a lot of participants! It was a nice place where to play billiard and baby-foot, to chat, to have a drink and in particular to taste many of the Belgian beers and listen to nice music that Khalid, the pleasant barman, was keen to reveal.

Beer tasting and singing in the popular bar

Excursions and Special Events were organized during the school.
On the first Monday, Professor Raymond Gastmans, from the Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, acting as the local Director and Professor Egil Lillestol, Director of the CERN Schools of Physics, greeted the participants with short speeches during a welcome drink offered by the "Gouverneur de la Province du Luxembourg" and the "Bourgemestre de la Commune d' Herbeumont", Madame Catherine Mathelin, who regretted not to have been able to come that day. The Governor, Bernard Caprasse expressed his pleasure to have the School in Herbeumont. He was impressed by the diversity and high level of the attending students. He gave a short speech stressing the important role of science in our society.

Welcome drink at the terrace

The first Tuesday, the School had invited a professional singer, Mik Deboes from "Klingenden Brücke". Mik entertained the participants with many well-known melodies, singing them all in their original language. Not so easy with 30 different nationalities in the audience, but Mik who run for the "demi-finale de la Belgique à l'Eurovision 1981" did it perfectly well in a very pleasant way, combining humour and talent both as a singer and as a guitar player. The atmosphere was joyful and some students revealed to love singing. In particular we were all impressed by the performance of Danila singing "Kalinka". The cheerful entertainment continued late in the Bar under Mik's supervision and active participation.

Mik and the students singing in the bar

The first Wednesday afternoon was dedicated to "sport adventure".
Eurovillage has a lot of sport facilities, and the students could risk their lives in death-rides and canopy, or try their skills in archery or volleyball.

Anastasia, the Canopy Champion

Volleyball match

On Thursday, 12 June the students displayed their work in the form of posters at a special evening session. The posters, of very high quality both technically and in content, were put up on display panels in the main lecture hall where they stayed on display for the remaining part of the school.

Poster Session

A full day excursion was organized to Brussels on Saturday, 14 June.
We left Herbeumont for Brussels in the morning after having picked up a lunch packet. Two buses drove the participants who where joined by guides close to the University campus. After a short driven tour we step out the buses in front the "Gare Centrale" and we split into four groups each with an official guide, and the tour went across Brussels most important spots, namely the Grote Markt.

Excursion to Brussels and to the "Atomium"

We had free time in town in the afternoon and it started raining when we all reconvened at the bus stop close to the main station, have a quiet journey back to Herbeumont and then have dinner a bit later than usual.

On Monday, 16 June, Gustaaf C. Cornelis gave an after dinner lecture entitled "We think, therefore we can be tricked."
He presented an interactive lecture, illustrated by several experiments with illusions and cartoons, that we all are subject to bias.
Numerous questions and comments followed his lecture and an animated discussion with the students lasted late, continuing in the bar.

On Wednesday, 18 June, right after lunch there was a departure to Chassepierre, where kayaking was organized on the river La Semois.

Transport to Chassepierre.

For many of the participants it was their first experience with kayaking. So, in spite of a detailed introduction to the paddling technique and safety instructions, faithfully translated by Camille, many found it difficult to paddle straight, and going from the right to the left bank make the journey much longer. However, some experienced paddlers covered the distance easily and fast and missed the arrival point. So also they got their doses of hard labour, but fortunately they were found together with their kayaks a far distance further down the river.

Kayaking on the flower covered La Semois

Did everybody make it to the end ?????

For those who did not want to expose themselves to the dangers and labours of kayaking, some mountain bikes were hired.

Thursday, 19 June: since 6 students (Alexandre, Alejandro, Igor, Marco, Matthew and Mark) had their birthdays during the School, a birthday cake was ordered. The creamy cake was big and the ones concerned kindly shared it with who ever wanted a piece. We all song the birthday song and small gifts from JINR and CERN where offered.

Birthday cake

Farewell Banquet on Friday, 20 June
The Farewell Banquet on the last evening is a School tradition. But this banquet was very special since it was prepared by some of the students attending the School.
Actually, a few days before the event, a group of students had asked whether it would be possible for them to prepare a special menu. A meeting was arranged with the kitchen Chief and thanks to his understanding and kindness not only did he agree to allow the Students into his kingdom, but he also supervised them and together with his staff helped them with the preparations. The students who had prepared the dinner also served it at the tables. It was an outstanding menu of high quality. Egil collected a comment of the kitchen Chef, Didier Thiange, who said "je les garde", meaning that he would have liked to keep in his team the students who could prepare such delicious meals in a perfect discipline.

The Chef with his new kitchen staff

The banquet dinner is being served and both permanent and temporary staff is congratulated

Marleen being served by Giuseppe

High table

The details of the menu are given below where "Menu: is linked to the full menu document (in pdf), containing details of the recipes and the responsible for each menu. (Use the "bookmarks" to navigate in the pdf - document)

Gazpacho Andaluz
Penne all’amatriciana, Penne alla carbonara and Penne all’arrabbiata
Carpaccio de boeuf
Tortilla de patatas
Grappa (made in Italy)

The students also prepared a lyrics which they song after dinner:

You cooked with loving feeling
You cooked with loving feeling
now it's gone, gone, gone

(music from Summer nights,  Grease)
Herbeumont, happened so fast
Eurovillage, having a blast
met a girl who loves QFT
met 97 guys nerdy like me.
Summerschool, happened so fast, bu-ut
I've had the meal of my life
now I'll never eat this well again
Oh I swear, it's the truth
and I owe it all to you.

 (music from Hit me baby one more time by Britney Spears)
My hungriness was killing me, and I
I must confess I'm still in need
when you're not with me I lose my mind
Give me some wine
feed me baby one more time

Students together with Khalid singing their own lyrics

Invited guests were, Professor Denis Favart, UCL - Louvain-la-Neuve, from the Belgian Organizing Committee and Dr. Alexei Sissakian, Director General of JINR, newly elected at the Russian Academy of Sciences and Nick Ellis, designated next CERN Schools Director.

After dinner, all the participants joined the conference room where a party was set up.
Egil gave a short farewell talk expressing special thanks to the local Organizers, to the staff in the hotel who had helped in making the two weeks so pleasant.

After this "official" part it was time for the great master of ceremony, Tanja, elected by the students, to present the traditional students’ show.
The show was of very high quality, and we particularly enjoyed the sketch when the President and his new wife where discussing some of the more delicate points of the lecture course on Cosmology.

Nicolas and Carla

After more sketches and songs followed the traditional dancing session accompanied by a delicious sangria and snacks again preparred by the students. The night menu is given below and the recipes are to be found in the dinner "menu" linked to earlier.

After-dinner snacks & drinks:
Bruschetta with and without tomato
Parma ham
Typical Belgian cheese & Bier
Chocolate Pralines

LINKS to the official photograph and the corresponding names.

LINKS to some of the student’s photos:
A lot of photographs are on facebook. Below are some links.
Susanne K.:

Tanja R.:

Kirill S.:

Vito P.:

Anton K.:

Aras P.:

Anastasia B.:

We are sure that all the students join us in thanking the lecturers and discussion leaders for their inspiring lectures and discussions.
The local organizers of the school deserve a big thanks for their job and for having delegated Marleen as assistant secretary and Patou as official School Driver.