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Brian Dorney

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Brian Dorney

I'm a graduate student at the Florida Institute of Technology studying high-energy physics (HEP). I take part in the CMS collaboration’s B-Physics Group studying a theory called perturbative Quantum Chromodynamics (pQCD). This theory has had great success at predicting the experimental results seen at the Tevatron and other colliders. Now physicists would like to test it at the Large Hadron Collider. The best way to do this is through studying interactions of massive quark/anti-quark pairs produced in collisions. However, we can't observe quarks directly, so we investigate their properties by studying bound states of quarks/anti-quarks (called hadrons) or their decay products.

I have been interested in science from an early age, thanks to my mother. She would always get me these cool little books on space and physics, and I would spend hours and hours reading them. I became interested in HEP while I was working at Argonne National Laboratory (in physical chemistry, no less). I went with a group of the post-docs to a Pajama Party at Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory for the inauguration of the LHC in 2008.

It was there (standing, dressed in pajamas) at 1:30 a.m. that I saw the LHC's proton-beam halo interact with the walls of the CMS detector. The detector lit up as if it was alive, and I was hooked! It was one of the most awe-inspiring sights I've ever seen. I decided to pursue graduate study in HEP.

Outside of CMS and graduate school I have time for a few hobbies. I like to go for a run to blow off steam. I love art, theatre and music; and I have a bit of talent with a paintbrush. Before college, I played the violin for 12 straight years, something I've been desperately trying to get back into.