Blog

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

Bumps in the light

Here we are at the second blog from the Moriond QCD conference and, as promised, I will discuss a bit of physics.

Blog | 4th April 2016

First impressions from the Moriond conference

My name is Mario Campanelli, and I am a physicist who has been working for about 9 years on the ATLAS experiment, as part of the academic staff of University College London. This is the first time I write a blog, but I do have quite an experience in communicating science to the public, having guided visitors around CERN since I started working there as a PhD student 20 years ago, and also having written two books for the general public. Since Saturday I have been in La Thuile, a mountain resort in the Italian Alps, for the Rencontres de Moriond - arguably the most important winter conference in particle physics.

Blog | 24th March 2016

One week to do it all – Days 4-7: Diffractive data taking

On Thursday morning the first fill reached “Stable Beam”.

Blog | 19th February 2016

One week to do it all – Day 3: Preparing for Stable Beam

Tuesday at 23:55 I called the ATLAS shift leader and told them to stop the elastic physics run and ramp down the inner detector as the elastic program was over.

Blog | 18th February 2016

One week to do it all – Day 2: Elastic data-taking

No time to waste after the alignment.

Blog | 17th February 2016

One week to do it all – Day 1: Setting up

I have the pleasure to work for a very special sub-detector of ATLAS, called “Absolute luminosity For ATLAS” or ALFA in short.

Blog | 16th February 2016

The hills are alive, with the sound of gravitational waves

It’s 16:00 CET at CERN and I’m sitting in the CERN Main Auditorium. The room is buzzing with excitement, not unlike the day in 2012 when the Higgs discovery was announced in this very room. But today the announcement is not from CERN, but the LIGO experiment which is spread across two continents. Many expect the announcement to be about a discovery of gravitational waves, as predicted by Einstein in 1916, but which have remained elusive until today…

Blog | 15th February 2016

Top 2015: Mass, momentum and the conga

The top quark conference normally follows the same basic structure. The first few days are devoted to reports on the general status of the field and inclusive measurements; non-objectionable stuff that doesn’t cause controversy. The final few days are given over to more focused analyses; the sort of results that professors really enjoy arguing about.

Blog | 24th September 2015

TOP 2015: Top quarks come to Italy!

The annual top conference! This year we’re in Ischia, Italy. The hotel is nice, the pool is tropical and heated, but you don’t want to hear about that, you want to hear about the latest news in the Standard Model’s heaviest and coolest particle, the top quark! You won’t be disappointed.

Blog | 16th September 2015

Leptons & photons meet dragons, castles and multiverses in Ljubljana

The XXVII edition of this classic conference (Lepton-Photon) brought together more than 200 scientists from around the world in the lovely city of Ljubljana, Slovenia. This year’s edition was a bit special, as it featured poster presentations that gave young researchers (including many ATLAS members) the opportunity to show their work.

Blog | 4th September 2015

Lepton Photon 2015: Into the dragon’s lair

This was my first time in Ljubljana, the capital city of Slovenia – a nation rich with forests and lakes, and the only country that connects the Alps, the Mediterranean and the Pannonian Plain. The slight rain was not an ideal welcome, but knowing that such an important conference that was to be held there – together with a beautiful evening stroll – relaxed my mind.

Blog | 29th August 2015

Lepton Photon 2015

This was my first time in Ljubljana, the capital city of Slovenia – a nation rich with forests and lakes, and the only country that connects the Alps, the Mediterranean and the Pannonian Plain. The slight rain was not an ideal welcome, but knowing that such an important conference that was to be held there - together with a beautiful evening stroll - relaxed my mind.

Blog | 28th August 2015

Getting ready for the next discovery

I’m just on my way back home after a great week spent in Ljubljana where I joined (and enjoyed!) the XXVII edition of the Lepton-Photon conference. During the Lepton-Photon conference many topics were discussed, including particle physics at colliders, neutrino physics, astroparticle physics as well as cosmology.

Blog | 25th August 2015

BOOST outreach and Particle Fever

Conferences like BOOST are designed to bring physicists to think about the latest results in the field. When you put 100 experts from around the world together into a room for a week, you get a fantastic picture of the state of the art in searches for new physics and measurements of the Standard Model.

Blog | 15th August 2015

A boost for the next discovery

I arrived in Chicago for my first conference after the first long LHC shutdown, where new results from the two big experiments ATLAS and CMS were to be shown. Before the beginning of the conference on Monday, I had one day to fight against jetlag and see the city – certainly not enough time to see everything!

Blog | 14th August 2015

Boost and never look back

When I arrived in Chicago this last Sunday for the BOOST conference I had a pretty good idea what new results we were going to show from ATLAS. I also had some rough ideas of what our friends from the other experiments and theory groups would be up to. What I didn’t expect was to see an ad that would fit the conference so nicely!

Blog | 12th August 2015

A summer evening in the ATLAS control room

The sun has already set over Geneva when I finally walk out from the ATLAS control room. We have been waiting for beams to be injected into the machine since the early hours of the afternoon, but without much success so far. Just a regular day for the most ambitious particle accelerator mankind has ever built, but a pretty boring afternoon for our entire shift crew.

Blog | 4th August 2015

From ATLAS Around the World: Brief history of Morocco in ATLAS

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.

Blog | 31st July 2015

From ATLAS Around the World: Triggers (and dark) matter

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.

Blog | 27th July 2015

From ATLAS Around the World: Working with silicon in Japan

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.

Blog | 3rd July 2015

From ATLAS Around the World: Faster and faster!

Faster and Faster! This is how it gets as soon as LS1 ends and the first collisions of LHC Run 2 approaches. As you might have noticed, at particle physics experiments we LOVE acronyms! LS1 stands for the first Long Shutdown of the Large Hadron Collider.

Blog | 24th June 2015