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Seth Zenz

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I am a Research Associate working for Imperial College London on the CMS experiment, which searches for new particles and other surprises coming from collisions at CERN's Large Hadron Collider. I study the Higgs boson in its decays to pairs of photons. Previously I worked for Princeton on Higgs decays to bottom-antibottom quark pairs. I got my PhD from UC Berkeley in 2011, where I worked with the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory group on the ATLAS detector and studied properties of hadronic jets using early LHC data. My detector responsibilities have involved charged particle tracking and the pixel detectors of both ATLAS and CMS.

Teaching and public outreach are important parts of my vocation as a physicist, although they have not been part of my formal job responsibilities since I was a Graduate Student Instructor for introductory electromagnetism in 2004. Fortunately, I can always take up this work in my copious spare time. While I lived in California, I volunteered for the Prison University Project, spending many semesters teaching (and several semesters organizing) a pre-college math class for inmates at San Quentin prison. I also taught a one-hour lesson on gravity to Berkeley second graders, and made a few appearances at Berkeley-area events to explain my group's research to random passers-by. I did a lot of work on physics articles for Wikipedia; although I mostly stopped shortly after writing an article in Symmetry about how Wikipedia needs more physicists, I still stand by every word. I have participated in, and even on one or two occasions helped organized and host, the Hangouts with CERN. I first began writing for the US/LHC Blogs (now part of Quantum Diaries) in May 2008, with a level of consistency and quality that can best be described as “varied," which I strive to maintain to this day.