• John
  • Felde
  • University of Maryland
  • USA

Latest Posts

  • USLHC
  • USLHC
  • USA

  • James
  • Doherty
  • Open University
  • United Kingdom

Latest Posts

  • Andrea
  • Signori
  • Nikhef
  • Netherlands

Latest Posts

  • CERN
  • Geneva
  • Switzerland

Latest Posts

  • Aidan
  • Randle-Conde
  • Université Libre de Bruxelles
  • Belgium

Latest Posts

  • TRIUMF
  • Vancouver, BC
  • Canada

Latest Posts

  • Laura
  • Gladstone
  • MIT
  • USA

Latest Posts

  • Steven
  • Goldfarb
  • University of Michigan

Latest Posts

  • Fermilab
  • Batavia, IL
  • USA

Latest Posts

  • Seth
  • Zenz
  • Imperial College London
  • UK

Latest Posts

  • Nhan
  • Tran
  • Fermilab
  • USA

Latest Posts

  • Alex
  • Millar
  • University of Melbourne
  • Australia

Latest Posts

  • Ken
  • Bloom
  • USLHC
  • USA

Latest Posts

Christine Nattrass | USLHC | USA

View Blog | Read Bio

Introducing Irakli, doctoral candidate

Earlier today one of our University of Tennessee graduate students, Irakli, successfully defended his thesis proposal, officially becoming a doctoral candidate.  To do this, Irakli had to write a proposal for his thesis and give a presentation to his committee.  His written proposal was about 35 pages long and discussed relevant past results, proposed a measurement, argued for the relevance and value of the measurement, presented results from simulations demonstrating that the measurement he’s proposing will be feasible, presented results from test beam data demonstrating the performance of the detector, and laid out a time line with detailed steps in the analysis.  His presentation was about an hour long and he was grilled by the committee on various aspects of his proposal.

Irakli will measure heavy flavor production (meaning charm and beauty quarks) through the measurement of non-photonic electrons in proton-proton collisions in ALICE, focusing on measurements at high momenta using the electromagnetic calorimeter.  While Irakli is a heavy ion physicist, he’s doing a proton-proton measurement for a few different reasons.  We have proton-proton data already, so we are certain these data will be available.  Irakli will spend the next couple years working on data analysis, checking and cross-checking his results.  If he were trying to measure data that wouldn’t be available for a couple years, he’d have to do finish his analysis quickly or spend a long time in grad school.  The proton-proton result will be a way of checking theoretical calculations.  It’s also a good way to test our measurement technique, since proton-proton collisions are much simpler than heavy ion collisions.  Also, the proton-proton result will serve as a baseline measurement for heavy ion collisions.

Most universities in the US have some variation on this procedure.  There are two main goals – to ensure that the student is making sufficient progress and understands the measurement he’s trying to do and how it fits in to larger physics goals and to ensure that the advisor is directing the student towards a meaningful and feasible project which can be completed on an acceptable time line.  It is not only the student in the hot seat.  What these procedures tend to do is focus the student (and the advisor) on a clearly articulated goal.  Before the thesis proposal, students may try out various subjects, familiarize themselves with the experiment, and learn about possible thesis topics.  Irakli worked on the test beam calibration of our electromagnetic calorimeter, took shifts as a member of the team running the detector, tested front end electronics boards for the electromagnetic calorimeter, worked on the physics performance report for the electromagnetic calorimeter, and took classes.  These all provide valuable experience, but now that his goals are clearly articulated, his work will likely focus more on work directly related to his thesis.

So, congratulations Irakli!

Share