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Zoe Louise Matthews | ASY-EOS | UK

View Blog | Read Bio

Introduction and current goings on!

Hi, welcome to my first blog!

The ALICE detector, and some of the ALICE members! (It's not small!)

The ALICE detector, and some of the ALICE members! (It's not small!)

I will be posting here a few times a week. Over the coming months I hope to show you a little more about the life of a particle physicist. Every now and again I will be posting some advice based on the trials of being a PhD Student! However, I mostly want to share with you my passion for physics. This will include everything from ALICE (the experiment I work on at the LHC) and the cool stuff involved with my analysis, to the physics that comes up in everyday life. You’d be surprised how often it does – us physicist types see it everywhere! Only yesterday I was running to catch the bus home and I was reminded of the “Schrodinger’s cat” analogy…(more on that later!)

How does a Geneva bus relate to Schrodinger? Wait and see.

How does a Geneva bus relate to Schrodinger? Wait and see.

The launch of the new Quantum Diaries comes right in the middle of ALICE week. This is an exciting time for us, where many of the ~1000 collaboration members gather at CERN for lots of meetings about the physics we are preparing to do. Topics covered have included the readiness of our different detectors to look at real events, the corrections and tuning that needs to be done with our data, and practice analyses using simulated events. I’ll explain what all this means soon. As you can imagine, we are all very excited, as the LHC is due to start colliding protons some time later this year!

I have also just finished a very busy and exciting week. For a few afternoons I was moderating a CERN “Masterclass” . This is a fantastic worldwide challenge that gets schools from around the globe to learn about particle physics and analyse some data from the experiments at the Large Electron Positron collider (LEP). They then connect to CERN over the internet and we combine everyone’s results and discuss them. We also have a quiz and prizes, and it is really quite fun! It gives the students a feel for the way a global effort like the LHC actually works because it has many groups collaborating with each other. Incredible things can happen when scientists from all over the world come together with the aim of finding answers!

I did have to do some proper work last week too. As a particle physicist working as part of an international collaboration, you learn quickly how to communicate the complex ideas in your work to a variety of groups, and I gave two talks on Friday about the analysis I have been doing, in a meeting about something called “first physics” (sounds exciting, huh? I will explain later!).

Hundred Reasons. Thanks to CERN, ALICE, TPG Geneva and Last FM for images.

Hundred Reasons. Thanks to CERN, ALICE, TPG Geneva and Last FM for images.

I am heading back to the UK for a while this Saturday, for alot of exciting things, some work related (conferences, a school visit and another talk…) and some not (Hundred Reasons gig, anyone?). I will keep you informed. Tomorrow evening there is a nice meal organised for all these lovely ALICE folk – a chance for them to meet up and talk outside of the office or meeting room. I will let you know how it goes.

In the meantime, if you like finding out things you didn’t know about physics, are interested in the nature of our universe, or have some questions for someone like me (or if you, like me, like to do silly experiments with the things in your kitchen, or stick your hand up in life and ask, “why…?”) subscribe and keep your eye out for more! 😀

Zo

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2 responses to “Introduction and current goings on!”

  1. Kat says:

    Experiments in the kitchen. Is that what happnen to your kettle?!?!

  2. Zoe Louise Matthews says:

    My kettle broke by itself (probably due to all the limescale – very hard water here!)

    However, the fire I caused in my nan’s microwave when I was three was ALL experimental. (More on things you can do with a microwave are coming soon!)