Before being onto EM business I was quite involved on Heavy Ion Physics (HIP). I have worked at CERN, and you can do the same applying for a job here. Or you can browse some raw videos from the LHCb here. I went to CERN fascinated by new states of matter, like the CGC, the Color Glass Condensate, and the Glasma. Such a fascinating composes you can get from the dense matter in heavy ion collision. In the picture, a so called parton shower, where new quarks are created by breaking an existing quark pair.
There are a lot of experiments at CERN, like the ATLAS collaboration. Each experiment has several detectors, being the Liquid Argon Calorimeter one of the ATLAS experiment. Extreme matter states are created during a collision (called an event), and the aim of these detectors is to understand the output of these events. For that you may need to code on primigenial programming languages like FORTRAN, and if your code is very long it is quite handy to know how to make a FORTRAN library. To help on coding at CERN we had the CERNlibs. CERNlibs were needed then (are they now? I have no idea!) to run most of the scientific software at CERN, like ROOT. With ROOT it is possible to make and fit histograms from the command line. Also, you can plot with time axis. Or compile your own GUI like this High Voltage Display Application.
At CERN what we did is to simulate the event, fit the particle tracks to it and withdraw conclussions from the fit. I used Herwig from CDF as a Montecarlo particle generator. There are several version of Herwig available, being the current one dubbed H7. Another famous Toolkit for High Energy Physics Event Generation is ThePEG. Writing your simulation code it is in general a good idea to have at hand some ROOT Classes, like TPythia8, or TPythia6. You can find a TPythia8 example here. Or you may want to go to the FORTRAN pythia 8.2. After running a simulation under certain premises it is important to compare the datasets (here the STAR datasets). You can process your data using distributed network environment like the AliEN grid.
Why am I doing this? I was trying to find if Garfield was still available, so that I can do some EM with it. It look like it is, but from the style of the webpage it’s hard to say. BTW, If everything above is too heavy for you (pun intended) you may want to check the physics forum or the wolfram enciclopedia of physics to have your concepts refreshed. And check other labs and fields. For example, DESY is in charge of a huge laser, so powerful, that it may be able to extract energy from the void itself. Or the NRAO for Astronomy on Charlottesville, Viriginia. Or the Institute of Sound and Vibration Research. Or…