Paolo Fessia

Paolo Fessia


Who am I? Paolo hesitates. This could be the last question of a person’s life. It is still too soon for him to answer it, but he tries. He feels himself a person eager to discover and to learn. This curious 49 years-old Italian engineer is motivated by the fact of seeing (in the broad sense of the term) as many things that are possible.

In 1998, Paolo became a CERNie. During his last year of university, in Turin, he had a 4 months Erasmus experience at the Joint Universities Accelerator School (JUAS). Located in the French Geneva region, and very close to CERN, these seemed to be small clues about Paolo’s future scenarios. At that time, he did not know that he would end up living in that area and, what is more, working at the world’s largest center for scientific research.

The year after he presented his Master final project, he got a fellowship to be part of CERN. Once he got his engineer’s diploma, he got an extra year at CERN and, when the flame of that contract blew out, he had the opportunity to join CERN as staff. It was the time in which the production of the LHC components was, clearly, the CERN strong bet. That time was 1998.

But before moving out to Geneva, where he lives now with his family, and before studying Nuclear Engineering at Turin’s university, Paolo spent his early 19 years in Ivrea. Located in northern Italy, 50 kilometers from the capital city of Piedmont, it is a small town that had its splendor moment with the foundation of Olivetti, a big company which started producing mechanics typewriting machines.

Paolo’s eyes were able to see how this company practically disappeared and how employment opportunities went from a private enterprise factory to municipal utilities, such as the city hospital and the tribunal. These days, he does not miss much from Ivrea, where he can go back, as much as he wants whenever he wants. Paolo is not in the mood for nostalgia.

He is very happy in the peculiar Geneva. Paolo talks about being happy as if it was, in some way, having the feeling that you have been able to accomplish something that makes you feel full, spiritually full. That is why we can experience happiness by sitting alone on a coast of Scotland while contemplating the ocean or by solving technical problems with your work team.

His dreams are simple, but that does not mean his dreams are easy to achieve or that he is not ambitious. The dreams’ staircase of Paolo consists of lots of steps: one with the feeling of having participated in big challenges, another one with the feeling of having contributed to the knowledge of humankind. Another one hosts his personal growth and the acquaintance of new people and more ways of living, and, one of the current last ones (could be called, “the father step”), shelters his kids finding their place in a society on which they feel happy for what they are going to be.

Although, “l’erba del vicino è sempre più verde”, it is important to refocus on ourselves and, instead of complaining about something we are finding outside, trying to understand it and taking action. We should all work on improving ourselves. Paolo does it. He continues facing challenging situations at the professional level and, personally, he walks along without fear at the border of the unknown and the things we can name.

Paolo is a man with the insatiable curiosity of children and cats and the wisdom of the tribal elders. He belongs to the old school on which every day, you learn something. And he is an exemplary student!