Women @CERN

Eva Gousiou

All Eva’s summers have the taste of an island in the Aegean Sea. Both her childhood and grown-up summers take place in Lesbos, the homeland of the archaic Greek poet, Sappho. But Eva, an electronics engineer focused on data transmission technologies, was born on the other shore of the Aegean.

Athens saw her grow. She studied information and communications technologies at its university, which was founded in 1837. Entering the workforce right after her studies was very important for Eva, who began working as a Seagate Technology intern in a large hard drives manufacturing plant in Thailand.

Later, she returned to Athens, where the cold coffees with friends last forever, and during which one can talk about everything and nothing. Almost like the Greek philosophers did a few centuries ago. But Eva still desired to explore the world, and so she became a CERNie.

She still remembers her beginning because it was just before the first start-up of the LHC. “We were working for the commissioning of the cryogenic instrumentation and it was a very hectic period”. Eva remembers it as a cocktail of emotions: hopes, anticipation, stress, motivation… “We were tired, but unstoppable”, she ensures.

She also fondly recalls a more recent phase. “After many years on electronics development, my team and I feel it would be valuable to go to the other side and become a user”. Eva is now a one-year detachment on the PSB-island and enjoys experiencing the operational side of what they have been developing. “Going to the CERN Control Centre (CCC), the place where everything happens, and working on beam operations there feels as exciting as those first years”, says Eva with emocion.

She is also currently working on data visualization, surrounded by graphics that, in addition to creating understanding and revealing relationships, are beautiful. She also finds beauty in the way  Woody Allen and Almodóvar paint their favourite cities, and it is the way they depict women friendships that she finds inspiring.

Eva dreams of more inclusive technologies. “Diversity of people means different approaches, explanations, ways of coding… I feel that this field, which is male-dominated, is losing a lot by excluding people”, says Eva, who is sometimes the only female in the room, and who is looking forward to having more female colleagues to work with.

She would also like to see more of what is called the democratization of the domain. Increasing the accessibility to electronic engineering, which will come from more open source hardware. But, how? “If we provide high-quality free and open source tools and the right libraries, as we have seen happen in software, there will be exponential development”.

And, as if that were not enough, she also wants more conscious developments that lead to greater modularity and reusability. “I think that instead of throwing away and replacing our devices, we could repair more often”, she states. “I hope that development policies will soon be more aware of what has a huge toll on the environment”.

Beyond her adventures at work, Eva enjoys her friendships, to which she always carves time for, and, above all, her three boys, who are her endless source of energy and support. Her particular island. The reason why home is here now.

Eva enjoys every day because, as the Greek poet Constantino Cavafis wrote in Ithaca, “hope your road is a long one / May there be many summer mornings when, / with what pleasure, what joy, / you enter harbors you’re seeing for the first time”.

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