Rajaa Cherkaoui is the first Moroccan to win the L’Oréal-UNESCO science award:
On 18 March, at a ceremony at the Sorbonne in Paris, France, the L’Oréal Foundation and UNESCO will present the L’Oréal-UNESCO For Women in Science Awards to five outstanding women scientists. Moroccan physicist Rajaâ Cherkaoui El Moursli – who contributed to the simulation and construction of the electromagnetic calorimeter in the ATLAS detector – is among the laureates, who are being honored for their contributions to the physical sciences.
El Moursli is Vice President of the Mohammed V University in Rabat, Morocco, where she leads a team working in the consolidation of a Distributed Analysis Support Team (DAST) for the ATLAS collaboration. The DAST is a team of shifters forming the front line for all help requests on distributed data analysis. The focus of her team’s analysis is on top-quark and Higgs-boson physics. El Moursli grew up in Salé in north-western Morocco, and went to a French-speaking high-school in Rabat before moving to Grenoble, France, to study physics. She says the award took her by surprise.
“I was in a meeting with the president of our university when I found out I had won,” she says. “My phone was on silent but I saw a number from Paris. One of my daughters lives there; she doesn’t call often so I was a little anxious for her. I left the room, dialed the number and a lady from the foundation told me that I had won. My first thought was ‘This must be a joke!'”..[Full Story]