Meet the winners of the 2023 ATLAS Thesis Awards

PhD students are the heart (and brain!) behind the ATLAS experiment

22 February 2024 | By

ATLAS Thesis Awards
The 2023 ATLAS Thesis Award ceremony. From left to right: ATLAS Collaboration Board Chair Maria Jose Costa; ATLAS Thesis Awards Committee Chair Antonella De Santo; ATLAS Thesis Award winners Nicole Hartman, Joshua Beirer, Savannah Clawson, Hassnae El Jarrari and Xiao Yang; and ATLAS Spokesperson Andreas Hoecker. Not pictured: ATLAS Thesis Award winners Samuel Van Stroud and Prajita Bhattarai. (Image: K. Anthony/CERN)

The ATLAS Collaboration celebrated the achievements of its exceptional PhD students at the recent Thesis Awards ceremony. Established in 2010, the ATLAS Thesis Awards recognize the remarkable contributions made by students to the ATLAS Collaboration through their doctoral theses. Students play pivotal roles in the collaboration while gaining invaluable skills crucial to their professional pursuits.

On 15 February 2024, the 2023 ATLAS Thesis Awards were announced at a ceremony held at CERN's main auditorium. The award winners are: Joshua Beirer from CERN & Georg-August-Universität Göttingen (Germany), Prajita Bhattarai from Brandeis University (USA), Savannah Clawson from the University of Manchester (UK), Hassnae El Jarrari from Université Mohammed-V De Rabat (Morocco), Nicole Hartman from Stanford University & SLAC (USA), Samuel Van Stroud from University College London (UK), and Xiao Yang from the University of Science and Technology of China (China).

"PhD students aren’t just the beating heart of the ATLAS Collaboration – they’re the brains behind many of our achievements,” said Antonella De Santo, Chair of the Thesis Awards Committee. “PhD students make up a significant fraction of ATLAS Collaboration members and contribute to a diverse range of research areas, including physics analysis, detector operations and upgrades, and software and hardware developments. The ATLAS Thesis Awards are our way of recognizing and highlighting their outstanding achievements."

During the ceremony, each winner had the opportunity to present a brief overview of their thesis work, discussing the results of their physics analyses, their technical contributions to ATLAS, and the creative solutions they employed to overcome challenges. As per tradition, these presentations were also a chance for the winners to thank the colleagues, friends and family members whose support was instrumental to their academic journey.

"Every year, the Award Committee is blown away by the calibre of the nominations we receive, which reflects the exceptional talent present throughout the ATLAS Collaboration,” Antonella said. “On behalf of the Awards Committee, I extend heartfelt congratulations to the winners, who were selected from a pool of highly accomplished PhD graduates. Their contributions not only advance the goals of ATLAS but also enrich the broader particle-physics community."

Explore the winning theses: