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Karl Jakobs from the University of Freiburg is a familiar face at CERN and in the ATLAS Experiment. He’s been part of the collaboration since the signing of the ATLAS Letter of Intent in 1992, having taken on various coordination roles, and followed the experiment through all its phases. Now, after twenty-five years with the collaboration, Karl is moving into the main office as spokesperson.
From detector development to detailed searches for new physics, ATLAS PhD students publish dozens of outstanding theses every year. Since 2010, a few have been celebrated at the annual ATLAS Thesis Awards.
Motivated. Outstanding. Enthusiastic. These are the criteria used when selecting the recipients of the ATLAS PhD Grant. It’s a tough competition.
In 1996, Morocco officially became a member of the ATLAS collaboration. The eagerly awaited day had finally arrived, and the first Arabic and African country signed a collaborative agreement with CERN to participate in the great scientific adventure of particle physics.
To the best of our knowledge, it took the Universe about 13.798 billion years to allow funny looking condensates of mostly oxygen, carbon and hydrogen to ponder on their own existence. Some particularly curious specimens became scientists, founded CERN, dug several rings into the ground near Geneva, Switzerland, built the Large Hadron Collider, and also installed a handful of large detectors along the way.
I joined the ATLAS experiment in 2012 after graduating from the University of Tokyo, however my previous experience was completely different from collider physics. During my Master’s course, I focused on the behaviour of a kind of silicon detector operated in Geiger mode. At that time, the experiments at CERN looked like a “castle” to me.
It’s great being back at CERN and being able to immerse myself in the tangible atmosphere of excited anticipation for the first collisions at 13 TeV this June. I am a South African, usually based in Durban — a city currently afflicted with xenophobically motivated riots and rolling blackouts. Being at CERN is really a different world right now, to a greater extent than usual.
After a long hiatus from US ATLAS, I recently started a new job at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratories. It's one of the few remaining labs in the US funded by the Department of Energy that does basic science research. It's the fourth job I've had in four years, all working on ATLAS, and all working on similar projects. This one is different, though: if I pass a performance review a few years from now, I'll have the lab-equivalent of tenure. I've had reactions ranging from "who did you have to kill to get that job" to "so who did you actually talk to to land that"?
Building the ATLAS detector has been a mammoth and innovative project. Sociologists, economists, and entrepreneurs have studied how such projects benefit society and the economy. The ATLAS collaboration has a number of unique characteristics, because of the size of the project, together with its complex scientific nature. It is the largest collaborative effort ever attempted in the physical sciences with more than 2200 physicists from 38 countries.
The ATLAS collaboration is continuously expanding, and recently its message has reached new shores – South America. Three new countries, Argentina, Chile and Colombia joined the collaboration at the beginning of the year, when Peter Jenni, ATLAS spokesperson, signed collaboration agreements formalising the presence of the Latin American research teams within the ATLAS experiment.