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Seth Zenz | Imperial College London | UK

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VERTEX 2012

Seth talking at the VERTEX2012 conferenceNever mind my complaints about travel, VERTEX 2012 was a very nice conference. There were a lot of interesting people there, mostly much more expert than me on the subject of vertex detectors. (I’ve written before about how tracking works and how a pixel detector works. In general, a vertex detector is a high-precision tracker designed to measure exactly where tracks come from; a pixel detector is one type of vertex detector.) My talk was about the current operations of the CMS pixel detector; you can see me giving the talk at right, and the (very technical) slides are here. Other talks were about future development in on-detector chip and sensor technology; this work is likely to affect the next detectors we build, and the upgrades of our current detectors as well.

VERTEX 2012 Conference attendees at Sunrise Peak, JejuThe location of the conference — Jeju, Korea — was also very nice, and we got an afternoon off to see some of the island. The whole island is volcanic. The central mountain dominates the landscape, and there are lots of grass-covered craters. Sunrise peak, at left, erupted as recently as 5,000 years ago, but it seemed pretty quiet when we were there.

Overall, the conference was a great opportunity to meet people from all over the world and learn from them. And that’s really why we have to travel so far for these things, because good people work everywhere.

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7 Responses to “VERTEX 2012”

  1. jal says:

    “In general, a vertex detector is a high-precision tracker designed to measure exactly where tracks come from; a pixel detector is one type of vertex detector.)”

    Thanks for trying to explain the complexity involved to us.

    When two protons collide, can the vertex detector determine if the ejected particle is going to the left or the right? ( I would assume a probability 50% if both protons are at the same speed)
    If the equipment is capable of doing this, is there a preference of which directions the particles are going?

    • Seth Zenz says:

      Indeed, we can tell! In fact, the purpose of the vertex detectors at the LHC is to determine where all the particles from the collision came from, and which way they were going, to within a few tens of microns — a bit less than the width of a human hair.

      Your intuition is correct. The symmetry of the system, with two protons with equal energy going in pretty much opposite directions, means that particles go left and right with equal probability. I’m not sure exactly what you meant by “left” and “right,” — along the beam, or perpendicular? — but it’s true either way.

  2. jal says:

    Glad to get that answer.

    “… a bit less than the width of a human hair”

    Does that mean that at anything smaller it is theoretical?

    At the size of a proton? (10^-15m)

    Finding out the properties of the QGP?

    • Seth Zenz says:

      The pattern of particles coming out of the collisions gives us evidence about what happens at much smaller length scales. That’s the whole point of the LHC experiments, in fact!

  3. Tim Nelson says:

    “Overall, the conference was a great opportunity to meet people from all over the world and drink beer with them.”

    Fixed that for you ;-)

  4. bob says:

    The physician can bury his mistakes, but the architect can only advise his clients to plant vines. – Frank Lloyd Wright

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