Case Study: Harry Sullivan on completing a graduate placement at CERN
04 Oct 2023
- Orla Fernie



Orla Fernie, Science Communications Placement Student spoke to Harry Sullivan about his experience completing a placement at CERN in 2021 as part of his graduate scheme.





a man stood in front of a large underground apparatus, wearing a hard hat and smiling at the cameraAfter graduating from mechanical engineering at the University of Surrey in 2020, Harry began an STFC graduate scheme in the ISIS design division in March 2021. His graduate scheme involved rotating through different areas within the ISIS Design Division with the option to arrange an external placement- which Harry chose to complete at CERN. His placement was within the mechanical engineering section of beam instrumentation, a subset of accelerator systems and was not dissimilar to his work at STFC.  

The project Harry worked on was to improve a wire scanner design to reduce issues caused by deflections and vibrations. The wire scanner creates profiles of what beams look like in the Large Hadron Collider. At the end of his time at CERN, Harry presented three concepts for reducing vibrations and making the wire scanner easier to assemble: ceramic printed, metal printed or a hybrid option.  

His work involved lots of concept design work and prototyping out of plastic and building on knowledge he already had, like Ansys software. Outside of his work, being at CERN was an experience Harry loved. He was able to partake in tours of the facilities and completed a bucket list activity of going underground into the accelerator, something he has wanted to do since he was at school.  

a goup of people stood on top of a mountainWhile the “the first week was tricky as you don't know anyone and you are far from home," Harry found it exciting to move countries and easier to integrate at CERN because of the frequency of new workers starting there. He made new friends with whom he experienced some of the beautiful nature Geneva has to offer, swimming in the lake and traipsing up mountains. 

Harry is now a Mechanical Design Engineer at ISIS in the Accelerator Design division where he applies skills he developed during his placement at CERN. His advice when on placement is to “say yes to everything and get involved in as much stuff as possible.” When organizing your external placement, he suggests getting in contact with people early as it takes a lot of time to sort placements out and to talk to people who have gone previously.” ​

Contact: Fernie, Orla (STFC,RAL,ISIS)