The Women who run the biggest machine ever built by Man
The complexity of LHC and the women in charge of it

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Chiara Mariotti graduated in physics in Turin, with a thesis on experimental research at the Fermi lab in Chicago. After getting her Ph.D., she began working on CERN's DELPHI experiment. In 1999 she reached the position of research coordinator of this experiment, which engaged 550 physicists from 17 different nations. While keeping her role at DELPHI, in 2002 she joined LHC's big adventure by getting involved in the CMS experiment and becoming one of the people in charge of the Turin group. All of this while having her two children: Pietro, 4, and Sergio, 3. Since 2008 she has been the main coordinator of CMS analysis for the search of the Higgs boson.

"I have a student, Giorgia, who once in a while reminds me of myself when I was at school. I was 8 months pregnant and while I was writing formulas in the upper part of the blackboard, I didn't realize I was erasing the bottom part with my belly. Looking at me, everyone would ask me why I didn't just stay at home and take it easy... How could I explain that research work isn't a hassle to those who do it with passion? A month later, I started to get contractions. While I was grabbing the suitcase to go to the hospital, I remember I ran a series of programs from my home laptop and told my husband, who was looking at me wide-eyed: "Don't touch anything. The programs have to run. Otherwise how will my student graduate?" Physics and family, my daily challenge, but my happiness lies also in being able to have both. "