Silver Medal in Electronics for Mario Liechti
Mario Liechti, who trained at the Paul Scherrer Institute PSI, has won second place in the field of electronics at the world championships for non-academic professions.
PSI electronics technician Mario Liechti took an outstanding second place at the “WorldSkills Competition 2022” – also known as the World Championships of Vocational Skills. Having completed his apprenticeship at PSI in 2019, he has continued to work there as an employee in the Research with Neutrons and Muons Division at PSI.
WorldSkills is held in 62 disciplines: from car painters to florists, and from cooking to web technologies, young people compete against each other in their respective skills. Competitors must be no older than 22 or 25 years, depending on the area of expertise.
This year, because of the Covid pandemic, the WorldSkills is not held at a single location, but is instead spread out across 15 countries and regions, including Switzerland. The competition in electronics took place in Bern from 19 to 22 October 2022.
Without aids and under time pressure
During this time, the participants had no time to catch their breath: “We were given a number of different tasks which we had to solve immediately,” explains Liechti. “You’re not allowed to use any aids, which means you have to have all the necessary background knowledge at your fingertips, whether it’s signal processing or digital technology. And you are under time pressure: depending on the task, you have to complete it in two or four hours.” Those were the biggest two challenges, says the electronics technician. He felt that the tasks themselves were “not that difficult”, but perhaps only a world-class electronics technician can say that.
Electronics for cutting-edge experiments
At PSI, Liechti works in the field of particle physics where, among other projects, he is supporting a cutting-edge scientific experiment: the so-called Mu3e experiment, in which researchers are searching for an extremely rare, possibly even impossible, decay process in a type of particle known as muons. Liechti is also developing the electronics for collecting data at PSI’s Swiss Spallation Neutron Source SINQ and is currently supervising a trainee himself.
Planning, developing, designing and building prototypes in electronics with his own hands are all part of his daily tasks and duties. “I am given the specifications, defining what the electronics need to be able to achieve, and that’s when my job begins,” Liechti explains. He likes the challenging and varied work at PSI, he says, and, “I'm proud that I was allowed to represent Switzerland and PSI at the WorldSkills 2022.”
Text: Paul Scherrer Institute/Laura Hennemann