Adriaan started working at IdeaSquare when he received a call from the company National Instruments offering him their spare electronics. He then arranged a "long term loan" with CERN and brought the equipment to IdeaSquare for prototyping. He now gives trainings to students on how to use these electronics. According to him, IdeaSquare has “a very natural way to attract people and make them start talking about things that are out of the ordinary”.
“IdeaSquare is the perfect place to display and make demos of the CERN technologies not only for students, but for everyone, including engineers, accounting and technicians.”
Adriaan Rijllart organizes LabVIEW workshops at IdeaSquare and runs demos with FPGA. He also participates in other events, such as the Öbots Event held in January 2018 or the Knowledge Transfer’s Entrepreneurial Meet-Ups. He believes that students are positively impressed by IdeaSquare’s great variety of prototyping tools. because “they are allowed to book the labs and 3D-printers, work outside ‘regular’ working hours”. Indeed, he once had a group of students participating in a NASA challenge contest, and they managed to build a sort of "small Mars lander" with the tools and flexibility IdeaSquare offered. The fact that the facilities were so close together and the experts were there to help “made everything easy”.
LabVIEW trainings organised by Adriaan have been highly popular at CERN, reaching 140 inscriptions the first time they were advertised. Given this success, he has been thinking of launching wider training possibilities. “We could do more with FPGAs —like fast control and fast feedback control activities— or set up a laser stabilization experiment”, he suggests. At CERN, ISOLDE uses lasers to manipulate ions, and the Antiproton Decelerator for their antimatter experiments. In his opinion, organizing “laser stabilization workshops at IdeaSquare” would be great to get students “experienced in this field”. Also, robotics —something very appealing to students— would be a very fruitful field to explore. “If IdeaSquare could afford more Poppy Ergo robots (small, commercial robots for educational purposes)”, he explains, “that would certainly draw more people to IdeaSquare”.
“At IdeaSquare students understand the importance of the CERN values and go home with great learnings and a beautiful experience.”
Adriaan is a clear supporter of IdeaSquare and believes it should gain more popularity in the CERN community. “CERN people have their routines”, he adds, “and they sometimes need a hint of motivation to visit other places”. Luckily enough, IdeaSquare constantly organizes events for employees from different departments so that “people who wouldn't normally talk, end up chatting to each other”. He fondly recalls a visit from some university colleagues from Poland —who were highly impressed with the Mars lander the NASA-contest students had built— and a recent event held at IdeaSquare with the European Physics Society, the Porto Design Factory and scientists from Paris and Grenoble. “It’s always really nice way to see how other scientists work and demo”, he concludes.
“The fact that IdeaSquare has everything in the same place reduces the time you spend commuting and finding a good meeting room.”
Indeed, cross disciplinary activities are a key part of IdeaSquare’s mission. “I remember attending a fantastic brainstorming session about the future of the Science Gateway”, he says. On that occasion, I discussed with a person from the RF group who had made a small-sized accelerator, built with a plastic tube and a metal ball for a CERN open day event, how to turn it into a demo for children. Such things are also great to demo at IdeaSquare and represent a wonderful opportunity “to meet interesting people”.
Adriaan Rijllart is a retired electronics engineer who worked at CERN for 40 years. During his professional life, he participated and lead the Measurement, Test and Analysis Team for which he tested and analysed data from nuclear polarized targets, superconducting magnets, accelerators and multiple systems and software applications. He currently works as a Technical Advisor at ANGARA Technologies and as a CERN official Guide. At IdeaSquare, he organises and teaches student training courses on electronic devices, LabVIEW and FPGA.