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Pasadena Resident Ethan Villarama Heads to Switzerland for Summer Internship in Nuclear Research

Published on Wednesday, March 9, 2016 | 12:22 pm
Ethan Villarama

Cal State LA physics major and Pasadena resident Ethan Villarama, 14, has been selected to participate in a highly competitive internship at the prestigious European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) in Geneva, Switzerland this summer.

For nine intensive weeks, Villarama will join other scientists and researchers on the ATLAS experiment. ATLAS is a particle physics experiment at CERN that is searching for new discoveries in the head-on collisions of protons of extraordinarily high energy. Researchers are using the world’s largest, most powerful particle accelerator known as the Large Hadron Collider. The project is coordinated by the CSU-wide Nuclear and Particle Physics Consortium with support from the National Science Foundation.

CERN is one of the world’s largest and most respected laboratories for scientific research.

“I’m looking forward to the internship where I can meet leading scientists in the field, and I’m excited to travel to Europe for the first time,” said Villarama, a resident of Pasadena. “This is the best opportunity to learn about the latest research in high energy physics. This experience will definitely prepare me for graduate school and a future career as a research professor.”

During his internship, Villarama will work on measuring the properties of the Higgs Boson and help search for new physics using the Large Hadron Collider.

“Every time in the history of science when new avenues have been opened we have been surprised and forced to change our perception of the world in a sometimes startling fashion,” said Physics Professor Konrad Aniol, who is facilitating the CSU’s Nuclear and Particle Physics Consortium program at Cal State LA.

Villarama is enrolled at Cal State LA through the Early Entrance Program, which is part of the University’s Honors College. He is currently conducting research in the laboratories of Cal State LA Professor William Taylor and Professor Susan Terebey.

Villarama was chosen as a result of his academic record as well as his performance in an online nuclear physics course taught by Fresno State Professor Yongshen Gao, who is the principal investigator on the ATLAS Program. Villarama will receive $10,000 in total for travel, lodging and meals.

“We are proud of Ethan’s acceptance for this summer experience. This speaks highly of Cal State LA and the students who come here,” said Professor Aniol.

The Nuclear and Particle Physics Consortium offers CSU students the opportunity to apply to work and study on the ATLAS experiment of the Large Hadron Collider.

Cal State LA is a university dedicated to engagement, service, and the public good. Founded in 1947, the University serves more than 27,000 students and 240,000 distinguished alumni, who are as diverse as the city we serve. Located in the heart of Los Angeles, Cal State LA has long been recognized as an engine of economic and social mobility. Led by an award-winning faculty, the University offers nationally recognized programs in science, the arts, business, criminal justice, engineering, nursing, education and the humanities.

Cal State LA is home to the critically-acclaimed Luckman Fine Arts Complex, Pat Brown Institute for Public Affairs, Hertzberg-Davis Forensic Science Center, Hydrogen Research and Fueling Facility, Billie Jean King Sports Complex, TV, Film and Media Center and the Center for Engagement, Service, and the Public Good. For more information, visit




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