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Seth Zenz

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I am a postdoctoral researcher working for Princeton University on the CMS experiment, which searches for new particles and other surprises coming from collisions at CERN's Large Hadron Collider. In a previous incarnation, which ended when I filed my dissertation in August 2011, I was a graduate student working for Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory on the ATLAS experiment, which looks for exactly the same things. My office is at CERN in Geneva, Switzerland. I work on the operation of the CMS pixel detector and the search for the Higgs boson decaying to a bottom-antibottom quark pair.

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 first began writing for the US/LHC Blogs in May 2008, with a level of consistency and quality that can best be described as “varied”; I hope to achieve this high standard once again now that I have returned from my dissertation-writing hiatus.

Any remaining time after that goes into keeping up with widely dispersed friends and family online, playing board games, and preposterous weekend train trips around Europe.