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Melendez Lands Prestigious Summer Internship at CERN

Published: Feb 18, 2014

Jordan Melendez

Taylor student Jordan Melendez is one of 10 American college students selected for summer internships at CERN in Geneva, Switzerland. CERN (Conseil Européen pour la Recherche Nucléaire, or European Council for Nuclear Research) is the organization that houses the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) and also discovered the Higgs boson, also known as the God particle.

Melendez, a double major in physics and mathematics from Elyria, Ohio, said he believed his research in particle physics, a field normally reserved for graduate rather than undergraduate students, was key in his selection.

“It is a credit to great professors I have worked with here. Most professors would not take the time to teach theoretical particle physics to an undergraduate. They feel like it’s a waste of time because it’s such a big learning curve,” Melendez said. “But (Physics professor and departmental chair) Dr. (Ken) Kiers obviously finds it beneficial. I’m very glad he took the time to do that because having a theoretical understanding of the material is one of the things that helped me, because not that many undergraduates have that experience.”

Melendez also discussed his faith, which plays a vital role in his life. “I feel like faith definitely complements everything that I do. Faith and science definitely complement each other,” he said. “Faith gives you a better understanding of science and a way to interpret it in a Christian context. And I feel that science gives you a way to better understand God’s character and who God is on a deeper level than without knowing all the intricate details of how physics works and its beauty and all of its symmetries and underlying nature.”

According to CERN’s website, the CERN convention was signed in 1953 by 12 founding states: Belgium, Denmark, France, the Federal Republic of Germany, Greece, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland, the United Kingdom and Yugoslavia. The organization was later joined by Austria, Spain, Portugal, Finland, Poland, Czechoslovak Republic, Hungary, Bulgaria and Israel. The Czech Republic and Slovak Republic re-joined CERN after their mutual independence in 1993. Yugoslavia left CERN in 1961. Today CERN has 21 member states, and Romania is a candidate to become a member state. Serbia is an associate member in the pre-stage to membership.

Melendez will be at CERN from June 15 to August 8.