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The Great North Run and Mermaids

I am thrilled to announce that in September, I will be running the Great North Run for Mermaids!

Me running the Paris Marathon. This is the best photo of me running I have. Thanks Julien Villa-Massone! (Note: image has been edited to remove the logo on the t-shirt).

Every young person deserves to grow up in an environment where they can be their true selves. I am supporting Mermaids because of the vital work they do to make this a reality for young gender-diverse people in the UK.

Unfortunately there is a large hate campaign against the trans and non-binary community and this can only be increasing the anxiety that young gender-diverse people are experiencing. Let’s be a light shining through that hate and show that we are here for them.

To help persuade you to part with your hard-earned cash, I will be live-streaming during some of my training runs later in the year to talk about how the training is going, why I’m running for Mermaids & some science facts too!

You can check out my fundraising page, here:

Shaking off the dust

Hello! It’s been a while. I let this website slip and stopped posting and honestly I don’t remember why. However, the longer it had been since I’d last posted the more I felt like I needed to have something especially good to post when I came back.

But as they say, perfection is the enemy of good. So, instead, I’m shaking off the dust. I’ll try to get back to posting regularly and we’ll see how that goes. A lot has changed since I was posting last. And a lot is still the same. Looking forward to sharing it with you.

Bye for now! Clara

A beautiful hotel courtyard in Puebla, Mexico. Photo: C. Nellist 2019

Parlez-vous français ?

I first started trying to learn French when I planned to moved to Geneva to work at CERN for my PhD. I took a few lessons and downloaded a podcast, but when I actually arrived, and was surrounded by Brits, or English speaking colleagues, I quickly found that other tasks took higher priority and I didn’t get any further than ordering food at a restaurant.

La tour D'Eiffel However, when I accepted a post-doc in Paris, I knew things would be different. Officially the work was in English since I would still be working with the same international researchers at CERN that I was before. But this time I was moving out on my own, so I wasn’t going to have a large British group of friends, and I had been warned that many of the engineers and support staff that I would be working with either didn’t speak English, or strongly preferred speaking French. Not to mention all of the daily life tasks I would have to face, such as finding an apartment. This was OK. In fact, it was one of the reasons looked outside of the UK for my first post-doc; I was tired of being the only monolingual in a crowd of bi-, tri- and even poly-linguals! I had to learn at least one language and moving somewhere I was going to be forced to speak it was the only way it was going to happen.

Continue reading Parlez-vous français ?

Conference Travel

One of the perks of being a particle physicist, is the travel. Actually, I should rephrase that: one of the perks of being a particle physicist with a (limited) travel budget is that you get to travel. But you have to earn it.

As I write this I am sat in the departure lounge of Paris’ Charles De Gaulle airport waiting for a flight to Toronto. I’m headed to the PIXEL2014 conference at Niagara Falls to present the results from my lab. I’ve barely slept in the last week as I try to condense all of our research into a 25 minute PDF. I’ve amused myself by finding tenuous reasons to include photos of the #67P comet that the ESA ROSETTA mission is studying (because it’s cool right now), and also the cover art of the 1989 SimCity computer game (because it’s always been cool), not to mention almost compulsory photos of the beautiful conference location, the falls themselves.

The horseshoe waterfall take just after sunrise.
The horseshoe waterfall taken just after sunrise.

This is one of the major conferences this year for researchers working on pixel detectors (it’s aptly named, unlike the BEACH conference that was in Birmingham, UK this year) and I’m really looking forward to the talks and the discussions. Also, as a young researcher, it’s important for me to begin to mix with other researchers in my area; to learn from them, share my experiences and just to be known!

Oh, they’ve just called my gate! Got to run…

Note: Edited to include said beautiful photos of the conference location.