Blog

Exploring the “coolest” mock-up

It was in 2014, just a few months after my transition from ALICE to ATLAS, that I saw the mock-up for the first time: a full-scale wooden reproduction of the central portion of the ATLAS experiment, measuring some 8 metres high and wide.

Blog | 10th September 2020

Connecting during COVID-19: Updates from the (physically but not socially distanced) Early Career Scientist Board

As a community, we need to stay in contact, remain motivated and learn from each other's experiences. The work-from-home situation is one to which everyone has to adjust, balancing personal and professional lives, while accepting the effect of the ongoing pandemic on society. Despite these challenges, the ATLAS Early Career Scientist Board (ECSB) developed a series of events to boost the morale of the ECS community and to help people connect, even when they are sitting miles away from each other. I joined the ATLAS ECSB in March 2020, and to be honest, it has felt great to be a part of something that makes a difference in people’s lives – even if it’s just to laugh together.

Blog | 1st July 2020

You want me to present a poster…. remotely?

Though an academic affair, poster sessions are also an opportunity to network and socialise with colleagues. Typically, a large hall will be filled with rows of poster stands, their authors standing anxiously beside them, anticipating whatever question may be posed by a passer-by. Finger food and drinks are usually served. Sometimes these encounters lead to in-depth discussions about a new result but, more often than not, they just serve as ice-breakers for would-be colleagues, or a kind of “physics buffet” for conference attendees to sample subjects outside their specialization. Could such an experience be recreated in an online conference?

Blog | 22nd June 2020

Serving up new winter recipes with the ATLAS Early Career Scientist Board

In 2019, I joined the ATLAS Early Career Scientist Board (ECSB): a special advisory group dedicated to assisting the ATLAS Collaboration in building an environment where the full scientific potential of scientists at the start of their career can be realised. The board organises several activities for the ATLAS community (you may have seen all of our summer activities described in this blog). I was actively involved in the winter activities. They were all fantastic experiences to improve social relationships in a 5000-people collaboration.

Blog | 28th February 2020

Sharing the Excitement of ATLAS

This past week, I grabbed a last-minute opportunity to wander about and take in the beauty of my favourite particle physics detector. Located 100 meters under the French/Swiss border near Geneva, ATLAS is always a marvel to see and to explore. Although I have hosted hundreds of visits by its side, I never tire of the view and inevitably pull out my phone or camera to photograph it, yet again.

Blog | 22nd December 2019

New ATLAS members, welcome on board

This summer was rich with events regularly organised by the ATLAS Early Career Scientists Board (ECSB): Induction Day, Career Q&A and the Ice Cream event. The ECSB is a special advisory group dedicated to assisting the ATLAS Collaboration in building an environment where the full scientific potential of young scientists can be realised. It consists of seven early career scientists, representing various career levels, nationalities, genders and home institutions. I have been in the thick of things as a new member of the ECSB and had a lot of new experiences. Each event was full of fantastic people and brought to its participants tonnes of useful information.

Blog | 18th September 2019

Ten days of Trigger and Data Acquisition at ISOTDAQ

This April marked the 10th anniversary of the International School of Trigger and Data Acquisition (ISOTDAQ). It was a fantastic event that united researchers in physics, computing and engineering, ranging from undergraduate students to post-doctoral scientists. The goal of the school was to teach the "arts and crafts" of triggering and data-acquisition for high-energy physics experiments through a series of lectures and hands-on laboratory exercises.

Blog | 26th April 2019

Boosting high-energy physics education around the world with ATLAS Open Data

Since the beginning of ATLAS, collaboration members have devoted hours, days, weeks and months teaching High Energy Physics (HEP) to anyone willing to listen. But sometimes those willing to listen do not have the means, especially when oceans and continents separate them from our experiment in Geneva. How can we overcome these geographical distances to allow anyone interested in HEP to learn?

Blog | 26th July 2018

International conferences: interesting physics & instant excitement

What a start it's been to my first conference! I was lucky enough to join the 39th International Conference on High Energy Physics (ICHEP), the biggest conference in High Energy Physics. About 1000 physicists are currently gathered in Seoul, presenting results from all across the field. Getting to visit South Korea plus hearing about cutting-edge physics sounded like a 5-star recipe to me!

Blog | 10th July 2018

Waiting for physics: Stable beams!

Following the first “beam splash” tests in early-April, the ATLAS experiment awaited the next milestone on the road to data-taking: "stable beams". This is when the LHC proton beams are aligned, squeezed, focused and finally steered to collide head-to-head. It is an important test, as it allows us to verify that the collision mechanism is ready to take data that are good for physics studies.

Blog | 11th May 2018

Waiting for physics: Splashing beams

Each year, around mid-spring, the giant LHC accelerator wakes up from its winter maintenance and gets ready for a new feverish period of data taking. But before smashing protons once again, some tests have to be done, to check that everything is in order and that the machine can accelerate and collide particles properly, as it did before the shutdown.

Blog | 10th May 2018

Angels and Teachers

I met beautiful people in Los Angeles earlier this month: smart, talented students, all destined for great careers. They welcomed me to their high schools and their after-school programmes, all well-equipped with computing, electronics, a robotics lab and, above all, a brilliant staff of teachers.

Blog | 27th March 2018

Reaching out across cultures

This past Spring, I had the opportunity to travel to Taos, New Mexico, USA, to work with artist Agnes Chavez, on one of her “Projecting Particles” workshops. Her innovative programme aims to develop STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) skills in students aged 8 and up, employing a mixture of science education and artistic expression. It is a winning combination for everyone involved.

Blog | 5th January 2018

The art of physics

I have been doing some work with artists recently. Not that I’m planning a career change, you know: I just love to talk about my research to anyone who is prepared to listen, and lately it’s been with artists. Ruth Jarman and Joe Gerhardt, aka Semiconductor, are internationally renowned visual artists who in 2015 won the Collide@CERN Ars Electronica Award and spent a two-month residency at CERN. Like myself, they live in Brighton, which is also home to the University of Sussex, where I work.

Blog | 4th October 2017

How to run a particle detector

If you are interested in particle physics, you probably hear a lot about the huge amount of data that is recorded by experiments like ATLAS. But where does this data come from? Roughly speaking: first you have to plan, build and maintain an experiment and in the end you need people to analyse the data you’ve recorded. But what happens in between? What happens in the day-to-day life of people in the ATLAS control room, who are responsible for keeping all that great data coming?

Blog | 23rd June 2017

Something old, something new: perspective of LHCP2017

More than 400 physicists from around the world visiting Shanghai to hear the latest LHC results, at the fifth annual Large Hadron Collider Physics (LHCP17) conference. It was a wonderful opportunity for Chinese particle physicists and students, who do not often have the chance to travel abroad! Even for me, although I have been working on the LHC for almost 10 years, this was still my first time attending such a high-level conference to hear the first-rate physics results from all four experiments at the Large Hadron Collider.

Blog | 7th June 2017

Is there life after physics?

Am I going to dedicate my entire life to high-energy physics? Am I qualified to work in another field, if I wish to? These are questions we may ask ourselves as we near the end of a contract. On Tuesday 29 November, the four experiments, ATLAS, ALICE, CMS and LHCb, organized a meeting with some of their former physicists who had decided to take the plunge into the business world.

Blog | 2nd December 2016

What happens when energy goes missing?

Here at ATLAS, we like to consider ourselves pretty decent at tracking down particles. In fact, we do it every day. Just because a proton-proton collision doesn’t produce the next Nobel Prize winning particle doesn’t mean we can ignore it. Teams of physicists are still combing through every single event, rebuilding known particles out of the signals they leave us

Blog | 3rd November 2016

The many faces of research

Ever since the age of 10, as far as I remember, I have been fascinated by technical and natural sciences, especially physics. I loved building (and repairing) experiments or things. As a result, in high school I happily attended an advanced course in physics and continued my studies at RWTH Aachen University (Germany).

Blog | 17th October 2016

Higgs over easy

My colleagues and I are in town to attend the 22nd International Conference on Computing in High Energy and Nuclear Physics (CHEP 2016, for short). I like to think of us as the nerds of the nerds. Computing, networking, software, middleware, bandwidth, and processors are the topics of discussion, and there is indeed much to talk about.

Blog | 12th October 2016

ICHEP results presented with style!

For those of you with an affinity for Twitter, you’ll know that the ICHEP press crew have been utilising all of their dark arts to bring you the most interesting results as they’re presented at ICHEP 2016.

Blog | 8th August 2016

A busy day in the life of high energy physicist

My work involves analyzing data to try to understand how nature works at the most fundamental level, by searching for new particles and ways in which they interact. Specifically, I am looking at the top quark, which is the heaviest fundamental particle known to exist, with a mass of about 180 times that of a proton.

Blog | 27th June 2016

An insider view of the "marten affair"

Friday morning, 29 April 2016: what was expected to be a productive shift turned out to be very different.

Blog | 7th June 2016

Spring celebrations in Pisa as the LHC restarts

PP@LHC is an Italian conference with important contributions by foreign institutes, focused on the proton-proton physics performed at the LHC by the ATLAS, CMS and LHCb experiments. The aim of this year’s edition was not only to give an overview on the current status of LHC research, but to focus on future challenges with the upcoming new data.

Blog | 31st May 2016

One does not simply give a talk at Moriond

The third day of the Moriond QCD conference was dedicated to quantum chromodynamics (QCD), the theory that describes strong interactions itself.

Blog | 5th April 2016