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  • University of Maryland
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Ricky Nathvani

Physicists tend to be weary of short-sighted and irrelevant allusions to Heisenberg's Uncertainty Principle. That said, if you'll excuse the comparison, I can be a lot like an electron.

Whenever there was certainty as to where I was in life, I didn't really know where exactly I was headed. Once I decided to do my degree in Physics, it felt like I knew what direction I was going in, but found it harder to place myself in the present, not knowing how far I'd come or how much further I had to go in becoming a Physicist. Now, as I begin my PhD in High Energy Physics at University College London, I can safely say I have little certainty of either, but there's no where else I'd rather be and not much else I'd rather be doing. With the LHC back online (and lots of other great experiments coming soon), there seems to be no better time to be starting doctoral research and the entire physics community, as well as myself, face an uncertain future in the discoveries Run 2 will hopefully unearth.

After a simultaneously exhilarating and exhausting four years chasing a Masters Degree at Oxford, I was certain that Particle Physics research is what I wanted to pursue. Not only did I thoroughly enjoy my courses in quantum mechanics and special relativity (the associated problem sets, not so much...), but a research placement and a summer school on Hadron Collider physics introduced me to a whole set of exciting physics concepts and a really great community. Yes, we're often quirky and obsessive, sometimes narrow minded and scatter-brained, but every new group of physicists I meet reminds me of what a diverse, friendly and interesting bunch of people I have the pleasure of working with.

Outside of physics I occasionally enjoy long distance running, board games and terribly playing the harmonica. I like discussing silly things until the early hours of the morning and making up for it the next day with a copious amount of black coffee. My office desk is currently host to an unidentifiable cactus.

Having nearly broken every electronic device I encountered in undergraduate labs, I decided that Theory / Phenomenology was more my calling than Experiment. I'm now beginning research with the Parton Distribution Functions group at UCL, hoping to contribute to our understanding of the internal structure of the proton, a crucial component in the theoretical calculations for hadron collider physics.

Despite being new to the world of “professional” physics, I hope that I can share the experiences of being a postgraduate with undergrads considering a similar path, and shed some light more generally on the world of research, from a newcomer's perspective. But more than that, I want to spread the big ideas in particle physics and provide some insight into all the exciting new developments that are sure to come in the next few years. There are new Dark Matter and Neutrino experiments, as well as the LHC, all primed to finally find physics Beyond the Standard Model.

Whatever their outcomes, I hope we can find a way to reach the wider community and share our excitement for these bold attempts at understanding the universe, with everyone we can.

John Felde

John Felde

I am a postdoc at the University of Maryland working on the IceCube Neutrino Observatory, a huge (cubic kilometer) neutrino detector at the south pole. I joined the Maryland particle astrophysics group in September of 2013 after receiving my Ph.D. from the University of California, Davis. As a graduate student I worked with the Double Chooz collaboration studying the oscillation behavior of neutrinos at a French nuclear power reactor. Although both experiments detect and study the same kind of subatomic particle, the energy range of interest to the two are vastly different. Some of the most energetic neutrinos detected by IceCube thus far have about a billion times more energy than the neutrinos typically produced in a nuclear reactor. One of the most fun and interesting aspects of neutrino physics is this vast energy range available to study.

With IceCube, I have become primarily focused on adapting the experiments existing data processing schemes to allow for faster identification of interesting neutrino events. The faster we know about an interesting IceCube event, the faster we can alert other ground and space based observatories to the location of a possibly interesting astrophysical object. A primary candidate for such searches are Gamma Ray Bursts which are seen most often by satellite observatories and have historically been considered as possible high energy neutrino sources. So far, however, no confirmation of such neutrino production has been observed by IceCube.

At the other end of the IceCube neutrino energy spectrum, which is still fairly high by neutrino standards, a growing contingency studies the oscillation behavior of neutrinos produced in the upper atmosphere during the interaction of cosmic rays with the air itself. These neutrinos are fairly abundant, have a wide energy range, and come to IceCube from every direction. One weird aspect about neutrinos is their ability to “oscillate” which means change flavors between three types, electron type, muon type, and tau type. This phenomena, having roots in quantum mechanics, has been well studied and verified since the 1990’s, but IceCube’s contribution to the field is unique in that we study this behavior at the highest energies.

I was born and raised in Lodi, California, and currently live in the U St. neighborhood of Washington, DC. When I’m not researching neutrinos I can most likely be found on the soccer field or exploring the sights of the DC area.


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The Large Hadron Collider is the world's most powerful particle accelerator. Scientists predict that its very-high-energy proton collisions will yield extraordinary discoveries about the nature of the physical universe. Beyond revealing a new world of unknown particles, the LHC experiments could explain why those particles exist and behave as they do. The LHC experiments could reveal the origins of mass, shed light on dark matter, uncover hidden symmetries of the universe, and possibly find extra dimensions of space.

When the LHC reaches full power, billions of protons in its two counter-rotating particle beams will smash together at an energy of 14 trillion electron volts. After injection, the LHC accelerates a beam of hair-thin proton beams to a whisker below the speed of light. The beams circulate for hours, guided around the LHC ring by thousands of powerful superconducting magnets. For most of their split-second journey around the ring, the beams travel in two separate vacuum pipes, but at four points they collide in the hearts of the main experiments, known by their acronyms: ALICE, ATLAS, CMS and LHCb.

The experiments' complex detectors could see up to 600 million collisions per second, as the energy of colliding protons transforms fleetingly into a plethora of exotic particles. In the data from these ultrahigh-energy collisions scientists from universities and laboratories around the world will search for the tracks of particles whose existence would transform the human understanding of the universe we live in.

US LHC Bloggers

Kevin Black I am an assistant professor at Boston University working on the ATLAS experiment. Specifically I focus on searches for exotic physics and studies of the top quark, and I am now working as the coordinator of the muon trigger for ATLAS. I have been on ATLAS since 2005 when I started as a postdoc at Harvard. I moved to BU as faculty in 2010. Author's Blog Author's Bio
Ken Bloom I am an assistant professor at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, involved with the CMS experiment at the LHC and the DØ experiment at Fermilab. Since 2005 I have been the project manager for the 7 US CMS Tier-2 computing sites, and I also co-lead a working group at Fermilab's LHC Physics Center. Author's Blog Author's Bio
Kyle Cranmer I am an assistant professor at New York University and a member of the Center for Cosmology and Particle Physics. I'm a member of the ATLAS Collaboration, though much of my work applies more broadly and I dabble in some other experiments. My primary research focus has been the search for the Higgs boson. Author's Blog Author's Bio
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 (pOCD). This theory has had great success at predicting the experimental results seen at the Tevatron and other colliders. Author's Blog Author's Bio
James Faulkner I am a graduate student at Texas Tech University, studying experimental high-energy physics with the CMS experiment at the Large Hadron Collider. My studies have been with triple gauge boson production, along with anomalous quartic gauge coupling. I am also working with calibration efforts for the Hadronic Calorimeter for the CMS experiment during the current long shutdown, known as LS1. I have spent time at both Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory and CERN for the mentioned analyses. Author's Blog Author's Bio
John Huth I'm a physics professor at Harvard University. I was born in London, England, and grew up in Philadelphia, PA. I got into particle physics because I felt that it tried to answer the deepest questions that humans can ask of the universe. I joined ATLAS in particular through my interest in the importance of using particles like muons to understand how the fundamental forces are unified. Author's Blog Author's Bio
Nathan Jurik I'm a graduate student from Syracuse University working on the LHCb experiment, and I am currently stationed at CERN. My research has been focused on the decays of charmed B mesons, which were first observed at the Tevatron roughly 15 years ago. However, not until the LHC began producing data have physicists been able to study their properties in detail. Author's Blog Author's Bio
Rosi Reed I'm a post-doc at Yale working on the ALICE experiment, where I hope to study the hot matter we call the Quark-Gluon Plasma (QGP) produced in heavy ion collisions at the LHC. In particular I will be looking at jets, which are streams of particles that come from quarks or gluons that have a large energy. The way in which jets are modified as they travel through the QGP can tell us a great deal of its underlying properties. I grew up in Connecticut, and after 14 years of living in California, it is a little strange to back home. Author's Blog Author's Bio
Jim Rohlf I am a professor at Boston University and an experimental high-energy physicist. I have been a member of the CMS experiment at the CERN Large Hadron Collider since 1994 and have worked full time on this project since 2000. My scientific interest in the LHC is understanding the big-picture view of the mechanism of electroweak symmetry breaking. Author's Blog Author's Bio

Flip Tanedo I'm a graduate student in theoretical particle physics at Cornell University. My research focuses on physics "beyond the Standard Model," such as supersymmetry and extra dimensions, and how such physics might manifest itself at the LHC. Author's Blog Author's Bio
Emily Thompson I am currently a postdoc researcher with Columbia University Nevis Laboratories, working on the ATLAS Experiment and living in Geneva. Right now my research interests include looking for new physics involving highly "boosted" top quarks, or top quarks that are created with a very high momentum. These tops are so boosted in fact, that if they decide to decay into a b-quark and a hadronically-decaying W boson, the decay products merge into a single big jet. To understand these properly, it becomes extremely important to study and measure the properties of jets that contain substructure. Additionally, during the long LHC shutdown that starts in 2013, I'll be spending a lot of time working underground in the ATLAS cavern on the Liquid Argon Calorimeter. Author's Blog Author's Bio

US LHC Blogger Alumni

US ALICE bloggers

Name Blog Bio
Andrew Adare Author's Blog Author's Bio
Rene Bellwied Author's Blog Author's Bio
Christine Nattrass Author's Blog Author's Bio

US ATLAS bloggers

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Regina Caputo Author's Blog Author's Bio
Katherine Copic Author's Blog Author's Bio
Denis Damazio Author's Blog Author's Bio
Sarah Demers Author's Blog Author's Bio
Burton DeWilde Author's Blog Author's Bio
Monica Dunford Author's Blog Author's Bio
Vivek Jain Author's Blog Author's Bio
Zachary Marshall Author's Blog Author's Bio
Corrinne Mills Author's Blog Author's Bio
Aidan Randle-Conde Author's Blog Author's Bio
Peter Steinberg Author's Blog Author's Bio
Matthew Tamsett Author's Blog Author's Bio
Adam Yurkewicz
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Seth Zenz Author's Blog Author's Bio

US CMS bloggers

Name Blog Bio
Jake Anderson Author's Blog Author's Bio
Mike Anderson
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Freya Blekman Author's Blog Author's Bio
Edgar Carrera Author's Blog Author's Bio
Robin Erbacher
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Andres Florez
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Jim Hirschauer Author's Blog Author's Bio
Pamela Klabbers Author's Blog Author's Bio
Sue Ann Koay Author's Blog Author's Bio
Ted Kolberg Author's Blog Author's Bio
Greg Landsberg Author's Blog Author's Bio
Vivian O'Dell Author's Blog Author's Bio
Steve Nahn Author's Blog Author's Bio
Michael Schmitt Author's Blog Author's Bio
Rice University Bloggers
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US LHCb bloggers

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Anna Phan Author's Blog Author's Bio

LHC bloggers

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Rama Calaga Author's Blog Author's Bio

James Doherty

James Doherty

Hello! I’m an Oxford-based physical sciences student of the Open University.

I completed the CERN Summer Student Programme 2013, during which I worked to develop a new kind of beam position monitor for the Large Hadron Collider. In 2014, I participated in the ACAS Accelerator School at the Australian Synchrotron in Melbourne.

I am the communications manager for CERN’s AEgIS antimatter experiment and for citizen science platforms PyBossa and Crowdcrafting. I also work as a freelance science journalist.

Outside physics, I have varied interests including playing in a funk band, salsa dancing, cycling, trekking and Capoeira. Being an Irishman, I also enjoy a bit of craic. @JimmyDocco






Andrea Signori

Andrea Signori

Hey folks, nice to meet you!

My name is Andrea and I am from Cremona, a small historic and rural town in northern Italy. After a good time at the local high school, I graduated in Physics from Pavia University (Italy) in 2012. While working on my Master project I spent two intensive months as a Summer Student at DESY, in Hamburg (Germany). Now I am working as a PhD student in the Department of Physics and Astronomy at the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam and at Nikhef, the National Institute for Subatomic Physics in Amsterdam (the Netherlands).

My work concerns the structure of hadrons, particles (like the proton) bound together by the action of the strong force. So, I am definitely a particle physicist, but I deal mostly with Quantum Chromo Dynamics (QCD), the theory underlying the strong interaction. I focus on the flavor structure of the proton and on correlations between the spin and the momentum of its elementary constituents. In particular, I am investigating transverse-momentum-dependent distribution and fragmentation functions (TMD PDFs and TMD FFs, or TMDs for friends), mathematical tools representing the probability density profile for quarks and gluons in momentum space.

Am I a pure theoretician? Mmm. Am I a lab-nerd? Definitely not. I would define myself as a phenomenologist, because I have a theoretical background but my research is not only theory-oriented: despite dreaming about gauge connections and Wilson lines, I also like doing data analysis and simulations. This is cool, because I end up sharing efforts and expertise with people working in theoretical and experimental collaborations over the world.

I am really happy to be part of Quantum Diaries crew because I believe that scientific progress is not only a matter of computers, touch-screens and smartphones: it is, first of all, a matter of culture and its diffusion. Sharing scientific knowledge and discoveries with society is a fundamental educational task.

I also started a blog as an undergraduate student: http://puntozeroblog.com/. Here you can find my early production, but it is mainly in Italian.

Apart from physics and its divulgation, I am passionate about a lot of things, at least theoretically. But time is limited and tends to run out immediately, especially if you are a physicist. In practice, what I can really manage in my spare time is relaxing, reading, caring about my family scattered across Europe, love and some good friends. Last but not least, I love my bike, which is a fundamental item in Dutch society.

I hope I will satisfy my educational spirit by posting on Quantum Diaries, and I would love to hear from you: please don’t hesitate to share comments, feedback and thoughts.

Happy reading,



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CERN is one of the world’s largest and most respected centres for scientific research. Its business is fundamental physics, finding out what the Universe is made of and how it works. At CERN, the world’s largest and most complex scientific instruments are used to study the basic constituents of matter: fundamental particles. By observing what happens when these particles collide, physicists learn about the laws of Nature. Founded in 1954, CERN was one of Europe’s first joint ventures, bringing specialists from 12 Member States together to pursue a common dream. Established on the Franco-Swiss border near Geneva, it has become a shining example of successful international collaboration. Today, CERN has 20 European Member States and many nations from around the globe participate in its research programme.

The people writing on CERN's blog are the lab's Director General, Rolf Heuer, the head of the lab's communication group, James Gillies, an experimental physicist working on the ATLAS collaboration, Pauline Gagnon and Editor of the CERN Courier magazine, Christine Sutton. More will be joining them as time goes on.

Aidan Randle-Conde

I worked as a Postdoc on ATLAS for SMU June 2010-July 2013. Now I work as a Postdoc on CMS for ULB (Brussels). My analysis is the search for the Z' boson decaying to two high energy electrons. In addition I work on the high level trigger for electrons and photons.

I've taken part in a range of different experiments, both large and small, including ATLAS, BaBar, CDF and EMMA. I have a particular fondness for "heavy" flavor physics (which is considered light at the LHC), but I bet my interests will change in 2011 as we gather even more data at the highest collider energies the world has ever seen!

In my spare time I love to travel and explore the world, but when that's not possible you can usually find me working on some esoteric project on my website or helping out with the LGBT CERN group. And I love telling people about physics.


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Located in Vancouver, British Columbia, TRIUMF is Canada's national laboratory for particle and nuclear physics. The laboratory is owned and operated as a joint venture by a consortium of 16 Canadian universities and celebrated its fortieth anniversary in 2009. TRIUMF brings together dedicated physicists and interdisciplinary talent, sophisticated technical resources, and commercial partners in a way that has established the laboratory as a global success. Its large user community is composed of international teams of scientists, post-doctoral fellows, and graduate and undergraduate students. The advances ensuing from TRIUMF's research will enhance the health and quality of life of millions of Canadians, launch new high-tech companies, create new high-specificity drugs, help us to understand the environment, enable the development of new materials, and spur the imaginations of our children who want to know their place in the universe.

TRIUMF is...Accelerating Science for Canada.

Nicole Larsen

Nicole Larsen

I am a PhD student at Yale University in experimental particle astrophysics working on the Large Underground Xenon experiment. LUX is a xenon-based dark matter direct detection experiment located 4850 feet underground in the old Homestake mine in South Dakota. I also work on Particle Identification in Xenon at Yale (PIXeY), a smaller xenon-based experiment that uses many of the same technologies for the detection and imaging of radioactive materials.

I always wanted to be a physicist, but the thing that got me into this particular subfield was a little pie chart that I found in a magazine article in the early 2000s about dark matter, dark energy, and the constituents of the universe. According to this pie chart, the universe is made up of 25% dark matter, which has yet to be directly observed, and 70% dark energy, which we know even less about. The wedge representing ordinary matter was so tiny and pathetic-looking in comparison—it completely blew my mind! The fact that we know next to nothing about 95% of the universe struck me as one of the biggest and most fundamental questions in all of science, and I've been more or less thinking about it ever since.

To this end, I majored in Physics and Applied Mathematics as an undergraduate at Georgia Tech and, upon graduation, moved to Yale and joined the LUX group. Although I do hope to get back to the South someday, I am very much enjoying life in Connecticut and in the Black Hills of South Dakota.

Outside of physics, my main interests are cooking, eating, and running (to burn off everything I cook and eat!). I'm currently training for my first marathon, and I couldn't be happier. I love the outdoors—South Dakota is a lovely place for swimming and hiking—and I've recently gotten bit by the travel bug, so I've made a resolution to visit one new country every year until I either start a family or run out of money, whichever comes first. I am very excited to be a part of Quantum Diaries, and I look forward to representing the world of non-collider particle physics!

Sally Shaw

Sally Shaw

I’m a second year PhD student in the High Energy Physics group at University College London, although ironically I actually work with very low physics: direct dark matter detection. I am a member of the LUX (Large Underground Xenon detector) and LZ (LUX-ZEPLIN) collaborations. LUX is a world leader in the search for dark matter detection and LZ is a next generation detector planned for operation in 2018; it is a much larger detector that builds on the LUX and ZEPLIN programs.

I did my undergraduate study and masters at the University of Warwick, working on the LHCb experiment at the Large Hadron Collider in my final year and graduating in 2013. Going further back, I was born and raised in Nottingham; joining an experiment that has me repeatedly using the words “LUX” and “pulse” maybe wasn’t ideal, it has led to a lot of giggling at my slightly Northern accent. I am so far enjoying the London life, although I miss the price of a pint in my hometown!

I spend most of my time at my desk at UCL; occasionally I get let out into the real world to travel for conferences and detector shifts. The LUX detector lives in the Homestake Mine in Lead, South Dakota, and I will be taking trips out there occasionally. Working 4,850 feet underground in an ex-goldmine in the American Midwest certainly provides some interesting anecdotes.

My work so far has mainly been on improving LUX’s ability to remove all background noise while leaving any potential signal untouched. Within the field we call this improving the signal identification and event selection processes. For LZ, I am going to be working on background simulations - the background noise must be well-understood in order to know whether you’ve seen dark matter or not. Occasionally I venture reluctantly into the lab to help with R&D for LZ, but being incredibly clumsy I’m not always the best at practical work.

What do I do outside of physics? Usually once or twice a year I suffer for several nights in a hot muddy tent at a music festival in order to see bands - I love music, used to sing in a band and can play a few instruments, but I don’t have much time for that anymore! Other than that, I enjoy going out with friends as well as relaxing with a film or video game. Other things people usually notice about me are that I love pink things (laptop, phone, calculator, external hard drive - you name it, I have it in pink) and I’m a bit of a crazy cat lady, but don’t judge me on that!

The hunt for dark matter can be frustrating sometimes, but it involves excellent physics and the use of amazingly sensitive technology. Furthermore, dark matter seems to attract an enigmatic bunch of people, with a surprising amount of (sometimes healthy, sometimes not) competition between collaborations - but that just makes it all the more interesting. We are right at the forefront of a very exciting area of physics, so stay tuned!

Richard Ruiz

Richard Ruiz

Hi, I'm Richard! I am theoretical particle physicist and collider phenomenologist at the University of Pittsburgh investigating models and theories that extend the Standard Model of particle physics that simultaneously explain the origin of neutrino masses and their smallness compared to all other elementary fermions. This class of theories is called the Seesaw Mechanism. In particular, I study how Seesaw models can appear in experiments like the Large Hadron Collider and how to discriminate between a potential signature and noise.

Officially, I got into the particle physics business the day when I asked my high school chemistry teacher, “What do you mean energy is 'quantized?'” Yeah ... Several exams and a college degree later I still ask myself that same question but in a whole different context. The absolute, most exciting thing about asking those questions is that with the Large Hadron Collider we can answer a some of them. The Large Hadron Collider, a.k.a. the LHC, is a science experiment that speeds up the nuclei of hydrogen atoms and then collides them into each other. It sits right under the Swiss-French boarder, not too far from Geneva, Switzerland, and allows us to see what the universe was like moments after the Big Bang.

This brings me to collider phenomenology: the sub-sub-field of physics in which I pursued my Ph.D. Over the last few decades, a lot of physics theories have been proposed to answer the many questions we have about the universe. Unfortunately, a lot of these theories “look” and “smell” alike. Collider phenomenologists come up with ways to discern which theory best describes the data we collect from our atom smashers.

Like my fellow Quantum Diaries bloggers, I like physics, a lot. It is the sort of thing I really can go on and on for hours at a time. When not posting on here, I maintain a science outreach Twitter account. You can find me on at @bravelittlemuon. Be sure to say hi.

Happy Colliding.

Laura Gladstone

Laura Gladstone

I'm a postdoc at MIT studying neutrinos. My main work is on the CUORE experiment at the Gran Sasso Laboratory in the mountains east of Rome, so for most of this year I'm living at the lab in Italy.

I did my PhD thesis on IceCube at the University of Wisconsin in Madison. IceCube is headquartered in Madison, so it was a big group. We had 40 collaborators in Madison, and about 250 worldwide. As particle physics collaborations go, it's small compared to ATLAS or CMS, but big compared to any two or three year project.

My specific topic was looking at atmospheric neutrino oscillations. We looked at neutrinos that have traveled all the way through the Earth, around 12,000 kilometers, and then interact in IceCube. Other experiments have seen neutrinos change as they travel from accelerator experiments or nuclear reactors, but that's at most 1,000 kilometers, so IceCube can see a new energy region for this effect. It also lays the framework for further studies of oscillations, which might show weird new effects like sterile neutrinos! But we haven't seen those yet.

In college, I used to work on the MiniBooNE experiment at Fermilab, which got me interested in doing physics research in a large group. Doing winter shifts in Batavia, Illinois was also my first introduction to a Midwestern winter, but somehow I wasn't scared away effectively enough, and I still chose to go to grad school in the Midwest.

We moved around a lot when I was a kid, settling in Oregon for middle and high school. I kept moving though, going to New York for college at Columbia, to the Midwest for grad school, and now Italy and Boston for this postdoc.

Steven Goldfarb

Steven Goldfarb

I am one of 3000 physicists working on the ATLAS experiment on the Large Hadron Collider at CERN. For several years, my colleagues asked me to serve as the Outreach and Education Coordinator, and it was a lot of fun. In fact, I can’t think of anything I’d rather do than share the excitement of scientific discovery with the world, which – I guess – is why I joined Quantum Diaries.

CERN is an amazing place, and I am lucky to have had the chance to call it home since 1988. The University of Michigan first sent me over here to work on the L3 experiment on the Large Electron-Positron Collider (LEP). I counted 3 families of particles, got my degree, and then worked on B meson spectroscopy (excited beauty) until 1998, when I joined ATLAS.

On ATLAS, I focused on the development of software for the muon spectrometer and preliminary Higgs decay studies, until I got sidetracked to the world of communication. After chairing a committee on Collaborative Tools for the LHC, I decided to apply the technology to outreach, creating a program called ATLAS Virtual Visits. We now invite thousands of students from all over the globe into our control room via the web.

I currently serve as the on-site coordinator for two programs bringing American undergraduate students to CERN to work on research. The University of Michigan REU program invites 15 students each summer, and our Semester Abroad program, sponsored by the Lounsbery Foundation, brings another 10 during the Fall and Winter. These are great opportunities for the students and they certainly take advantage of them.

In my spare time, I am lead singer, manager, and full-time roadie for the Canettes Blues Band. The Canettes bring their unique style of Versoix Delta blues to Geneva pubs and summer festivals, including the Fête de la Musique and the Montreux Jazz Festival. I also organise a workshop each summer called the Music of Physics and the Physics of Music. Never expected those to worlds to come together, but hey, why not?

Adam Davis

Adam Davis

I am a graduate student at the University of Cincinnati working on the LHCb experiment. You read that correctly, there are now more US institutions at LHCb! I am based part time at CERN, and part time in Cincinnati.

I hail from Santa Fe, New Mexico and studied Physics and Music at Pitzer College in Claremont, California. Aside from studying a lot in Cincinnati, I have also worked on tracking and Cherenkov Photon Detector research and development at SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory. Right now I am interested in tracking at LHCb, GPU computing applied to particle physics analysis, and flavor physics. I am particularly interested at the moment in measurement of charge parity violation (CPV) in the charm sector of the Standard Model, making LHCb a fantastic experiment to be a part of!

In my limited spare time, I enjoy playing Field Hockey, playing the guitar and riding my bicycle up mountains. When I'm not doing that, I love curling up with my cat and listening to music.


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What is the nature of the universe? What are matter and energy, space and time? At the U.S. Department of Energy’s Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory, thousands of scientists from universities and laboratories across the United States and around the world collaborate on experiments to discover what the universe is made of and how it works. From their work in the science and technology of particle physics come a profound understanding of the physics of the universe and many practical benefits to society.

Seth Zenz

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 only infrequently been part of my formal job responsibilities. 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.

Nhan Tran

I am a postdoc for Fermilab who works on the CMS experiment at the Large Hadron Collider. I am based at Fermilab in Chicago at the LHC Physics Center. My current work is related to tests of QCD (quantum chromodynamics) which is the theory describing the strong force, and searches for new physics beyond the Standard Model.

In my spare time I chase around my young son and hang out with my wonderful wife. I like all kinds of sports including some less popular ones such as trampoline dodgeball and whirlyball.








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Brookhaven National Laboratory is a multipurpose research institution funded by the U.S. Department of Energy. Located on Long Island, NY, Brookhaven operates large-scale facilities for studies in physics, chemistry, biology, medicine, applied science, and advanced technology. The Laboratory's almost 3,000 scientists, engineers, and support staff are joined each year by more than 5,000 visiting researchers from around the world.

Brookhaven physicists work on multiple projects on site and around the globe. These experiments include the Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider (RHIC), a 2.4-mile particle collider designed to replicate conditions microseconds after the Big Bang to better understand subatomic particles and their interactions; the Large Hadron Collider at CERN, where Brookhaven is the U.S. host laboratory for the ATLAS collaboration; the Daya Bay Neutrino Experiment in China; the Long Baseline Neutrino Experiment based at Fermilab; and the Large Synoptic Survey Telescope in Chile.

Mandeep Gill

Mandeep Gill

Science has always been the most profoundly fascinating way of approaching the world, for me. I suppose part of it was my Dad being an engineer, and maybe my liking math when young. And reading a whole lot of science fiction, for sure, which was interspersed with popular science magazines - I distinctly remember trying to read articles about particle colliders in Scientific American in seventh grade. I couldn't really make all that much out, but I thought there was nothing cooler, that's for sure.

This led me straight to majoring in physics as an undergrad at UC Berkeley (UCB), during which I worked in the summers on the design of an instrument for a infrared space telescope (Spitzer), which alas wasn't ultimately included when the project was downscoped.

After this I went back to the arena of smashing little bits of matter together and in December of 2004 I received my doctorate in Experimental High Energy Particle Physics (HEP) also from UCB (specifically on the topic of form factor extraction in semileptonic B meson decay) on the BaBar matter-antimatter asymmetry experiment at the PEP-II Collider at SLAC, the Stanford Linear Accelerator Center.

I then spent a little while figuring out what was next in 2004-2005, which included visiting the LHC at CERN and being awed by the construction of the CMS and Atlas experiments duing that time.

After this I fell in a fairly incidental way to working on the side on a cosmology project involving second order weak lensing (and ultimately, better dark matter distribution determination of distant galaxy clusters) in a visiting position at Caltech, in Pasadena, CA.

From there, I went into a postdoctoral research position at the Center for Cosmology and Particle Physics (CCAPP) at the Ohio State Univ. (OSU), concentrating on galaxy cluster gravitational weak lensing and determination of cosmological parameters from this technique (working on DES, and also in a group using data taken to do cluster weak lensing from the Large Binocular Telescope at Mt. Graham International Observatory near Safford, Arizona).

(The CCAPP is an amazing interdisciplinary environment located at the intersections of the nationally renowned OSU physics and astronomy departments, where researchers of widely varying backgrounds interact and richly cross-fertilize their respective fields of investigation.)

I returned to SLAC in 2010 and since then I continue to work on gravitational lensing projects on GREAT3 , LSST (Large Synoptic Survey Telescope), DES (Dark Energy Survey) and on other ground-based telescope data, as an observational cosmologist at KIPAC at SLAC.

I also work part of my time in public outreach at KIPAC, giving tours of the site and presenting film clips in the 3D Astrophysics Visualization Lab, giving talks at schools and other venues offsite, and also publicizing the work KIPAC is involved in through a regular blog in which research from the institute is showcased.

I am more excited than *ever* about the possibilities the coming years (and in particular the next decade) hold in revealing Nature's secrets to us in the arenas of dark matter, dark energy, and nothing less than more insights into the evolution of the Universe we live in.

Alex Millar

Alex Millar

I am currently a PhD student at the Max Planck Institute for Physics in Munich, having done a Masters at the University of Melbourne. I am one of those lucky people who discovers what they want to do early in life; I have always wanted to be a scientist and, since the fifth grade, a physicist. It is the why and how that always drew my attention, and theoretical particle physics is the closest we get to answering those questions. For me cosmology gives the most vivid description of reality – research is like playing with a box of toy universes.

My masters thesis looked at theories which try to combine two of the most fundamental questions we can ask: what is the universe made of, and how did this stuff come to exist? While we have a very good understanding of the material that makes up you and me, this “visible” matter only makes up 5% of the universe. The other 95% is made of dark energy (70%) and dark matter (25%). We also don’t know where the visible matter came from – the Standard Model of particle physics predicts an almost empty universe. I looked at asymmetric dark matter models, which try to relate dark and normal matter. You can learn more in my first post.

So why blog?

There is a marvellous world around us – much vaster in scale than humans can visualise. Understanding the symmetric and beautiful pattern to our world is my driving force. It is one of the great shames of our society that only a tiny percentage of our population knows about this hidden world. Ignorance of the basics of quantum mechanics and thermodynamics should be as foreign a concept as ignorance of Shakespeare. Unfortunately in our culture it is possible to be considered well educated with no knowledge of the physical or mathematical sciences. The natural world and its deeper structure are as beautiful and intellectually engaging as the literary arts. Because these subjects are perceived as difficult or arcane or, even worse, boring students who would otherwise be able to gain great insights are denied this privilege.

I decided to start blogging to help get some of these ideas out, and also share some of my experiences as a young, and hopefully career, physicist.

Ken Bloom

Ken Bloom

There are only a few thousand particle physicists in this world, and I am lucky enough to be one of them. How did that happen?

Like so much of life, it turns on small things. I met my first physics teacher when I was in fourth grade. My school district, in South Orange, NJ, had started up a program for so-called gifted and talented elementary-school students, and recruited one of the high-school physics teachers to teach math and science for a year. All of us kids ended up melting ice and boiling water and measuring heat capacities and the like. In high school, I found physics to be the most challenging science course, and that got me interested; I was captain of the physics team.

I arrived at the University of Chicago with a plan to be a physics major. The same was true for about half of the incoming class; not everyone ended up that way. I did enjoy the courses, but a major element of my college education was my research work. Largely by accident—I signed on with the instructor of my intro physics course—I found myself working in experimental particle physics, on Fermilab's CDF experiment. The lab is only about an hour's drive away from the U of C campus in Hyde Park, so I soon found myself regularly commuting for presentations and discussions with collaborators. And I have been in particle physics ever since. I genuinely enjoy this work. The physics itself is quite compelling; we are getting at some basic truths about how the universe works. The experiments themselves are projects of amazing scale, and I marvel that after all that must happen correctly to detect particles and record and process data, we are able to make measurements that make sense and can critically probe theoretical predictions. And there is great fun in working with such a wide range of people from so many backgrounds and cultures. That last part can be maddening at times too, but all part of the game.

I went to Cornell University for graduate school, and worked on the CLEO experiment there. I helped build a silicon detector, and measured properties of B mesons, finishing my Ph.D. in 1997. Afterwards, I returned to CDF as a postdoctoral researcher at The Johns Hopkins University and then the University of Michigan. Fermilab was getting ready for a new run of the upgraded Tevatron, and there many additions and improvements being developed for CDF. I helped build the online charged-particle track trigger, worked on offline tracking software, and then led the team that developed the experiment's muon reconstruction software. Once the data started rolling in, I worked in top-quark physics, leading one of CDF's analysis groups on the topic and contributing to several measurements of top-quark production and properties.

I joined the University of Nebraska-Lincoln as an assistant professor in 2004, and was promoted to associate professor in 2009. Since there was an existing DØ group here, I switched over from CDF to DØ.  But I also started working on the CMS experiment at the LHC. It has been an amazing ride, culminating in the discovery of the Higgs boson in 2012. I was in Melbourne, Australia for the ICHEP conference when the discovery was announced (and wrote about it extensively for this blog); this will always be one of the great memories of my career. The discovery of the Higgs was great but ultimately unsurprising. We're hoping for some real surprises when the LHC starts running again in 2015, at even higher collision energies. My own physics interests these days are in the interplay between the top quark and the Higgs boson.

I have also been very involved in computing for the experiment. Nebraska has the honor of hosting a Tier-2 computing center for CMS, one of only seven in the US; we are responsible for providing resources for data analysis and simulation production. After spending nearly ten years as leader of the Tier-2 program in the United States, I became the manager of Software and Computing for the U.S. CMS Operations Program in January 2015. Our 60 FTE team uses an $18M annual budget to provide the U.S. share of computing resources to CMS, and to support the development and operation of software and computing facilities that make the research program possible.

Having grown up near New York City, it never occurred to me that I might live in Nebraska, but here I am! I met my wife Sarah in Lincoln; she is a professor of English and Dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences at Nebraska Wesleyan University. Our children Eva and Moses were born in 2006 and 2008, and they are a total delight but also a lot of work. Sarah and I are both very busy with our day jobs during the school year; there are quite a lot of things to keep up with as a professor, but the payoff is that the job is a rich canvas to paint on. We are deeply involved in our various communities, academic and otherwise, around Lincoln, but our family also enjoyed our sabbatical stay at CERN in 2013-14.


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L'institut national de physique nucléaire et de physique des particules (IN2P3) du CNRS a pour mission de promouvoir et de fédérer les activités de recherche dans les domaines de la physique nucléaire, la physique des particules et les astroparticules. Il coordonne les programmes scientifiques dans ces domaines pour le compte du CNRS et des universités, en partenariat avec le CEA.

L'IN2P3 est structuré en une vingtaine de grands laboratoires et plateformes technologiques distribuées un peu partout en France, qui fonctionnent en réseau et collaborent ensemble auprès des grands instruments utilisés pour réaliser leurs recherches:
- les accélérateurs de particules: comme le LHC au CERN à Genève, SPIRAL au Ganil à Caen ou encore à SLAC à Stanford, Fermilab à Chicago, JPARC au Japon etc.
- les détecteurs de particules: auprès des accélérateurs ou dans les laboratoires souterrains comme à Modane ou au Gran Sasso en Italie.
- les instruments au sol ou embarqués, pour observer les rayons cosmiques de haute énergie ou les manifestations cosmologiques de la physique des particules : Virgo en Italie, les observatoires en Argentine ou en Namibie, Antarès à Toulon et les satellites spatiaux comme Plank, Glast ou AMS...

Sur ce site, vous pourrez retrouver des contributions de la cellule communication de l'IN2P3, mais aussi du directeur de l'IN2P3, Jacques Martino ou de physicien(ne)s et d'ingénieur(e)s des laboratoires de l'IN2P3.