All posts by Sascha

15 years in ATLAS

Fifteen years ago, Tuesday 8 March 2005 at 9:57am, I received my CERN account, to start working for the ATLAS Experiment.

What started as an internship – chosen because of a lack of courses in the field I originally planned to pursuit, the physics of macromolecules – in the high-energy-physics group at the Niels Bohr Institute in Copenhagen, turned into a stay at CERN during the Summer Student Programme and a Master’s thesis about the electron identification with the ATLAS transition-radiation tracker (internal) together with studies on a precision measurement of the W-boson mass.

During my PhD at Deutsches Elektronen-Synchrotron DESY in Zeuthen and Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin and various short stays at CERN I was mainly working on the commissioning of the ATLAS pixel detector (internal) and data-driven algorithms to determine the W+Jets background in events with pair-produced top quarks, and was involved in the startup of the German National Analysis Facility.

Going back to the Niels Bohr Institute as a postdoc, I started working on searches for unconventional signatures and long-lived particles and got stuck with that ever since.

I started out looking for heavy, charged long-lived particles, an analysis I continued also after moving to LMU Munich in 2014.  Since then, I had the pleasure of leading two ATLAS physics subgroups – supersymmetry with R-parity-violating and long-lived signatures as well as exotics with unconventional and exotic Higgs decays – and joined a community effort in documenting the current status and harmonise searches for long-lived particles at the LHC. Amongst other things, I am currently also working on searches for Soft Unclustered Energy Patterns as signatures of strongly coupled Hidden Sectors and just finished my habilitation.

Besides physics analysis, especially looking for long-lived particles, I was always interested in science communication and education and have been involved in outreach projects since 2006. Highlights were and are certainly the design of the ATLAS LEGO model in 2011, the creation of the ‘Build Your Own Particle Detector‘ programme in 2013 and running it since, the coordination of the ATLAS contribution to the 2019 CERN Open Days, and the still ongoing work on a new ATLAS Visitor Centre. Since 2018, I am also an Education & Outreach coordinator for the ATLAS Collaboration.

I hope to have quite a few more years within ATLAS and other collaborations …

Habilitation

Yesterday, I officially finished my habilitation at LMU Munich by picking up my diploma.
So from now on it’s not just Dr. rer. nat. it’s also Dr. habil.

My last deed in the process, I did already on 5 February with a scientific debate about my main research topic: “Searches for new physics in signatures of long-lived particles”. Hopefully soon, following some more paperwork, I will also have my venia legendi and be a Privatdozent for experimental physics at LMU Munich.

FEZ

Looks like I actually had some vacation during and between the holidays :)
I got my new 16″ MacBook just before Christmas and finally some time to play a (computer) game I had on my list for ages: FEZ.
It’s a beautiful, multifaceted, tricky, creative, crazy fantastic puzzle skill game done by Polytron I bought in a Humble Bundle quite some time ago.
Certainly one of the best games I have played so far ..
and I’ve played quite a a few (in the past).

Finally having a graphics card again (was broken on my 2010 MacBook), I might try a few more games from my (waiting) list .

My 2019 physics wrap-up

It’s been quite the year …

On the physics side, our search for heavy, charged long-lived particles in ATLAS using 2015 and 2016 data as well as several analyses I had been on the ATLAS editorial board for or was involved in as ATLAS PubCom reader got published this year.
We continued exploring a first-ever search for Soft Unclustered Energy Patterns (SUEPs) as a sign of Hidden Valley / Hidden Sector models, and I was invited to give a talk about searches for long-lived particles at the LHC at this year’s Frühjahrstagung of the Deutsche Physikalische Gesellschaft. I was able to join the Large Hadron Collider Physics Conference in Puebla, Mexico to talk about searches for long-lived particles as well as science communication in ATLAS and the International Particle Physics Outreach Group (IPPOG).
In addition, the long-standing community white paper on searches for long-lived particles beyond the Standard Model at the Large Hadron Collider is finally under journal review.

On the outreach side, obviously the CERN Open Days have been the most visible activity this year, while a lot of other projects went on behind the scenes. I finally manage to get the ATLAS mural at Point 1 at CERN a make-over, ten years after its initial creation. And the renovation of the ATLAS Visitor Centre is, despite a few unforeseeable delays, in full swing and we hope to reopen in early 2020.

Luckily I also had multiple chances to see ATLAS this year, due to the Open Days preparations as well as several outreach projects we are working on, from more professional underground virtual visits to a 360 degrees virtual visit to the cavern.

And in the spirit of the holidays and competing with lasts year’s pictures, also this year we put together some season-inspired pictures … you’ll see more of that in the coming days ;)

Last but not least, I also handed in my habilitation report a few weeks before Christmas.
Let’s see if that helps in finding a new job net year …

CERN Open Days

The CERN Open Days are already fading away, even though it was an adventure that already started in July 2018. I had the pleasure of coordinating the ATLAS activities for this 75k-visitors event together with Anna Sfyrla, Laetitia Bardo and a great team of about a dozen ATLAS members that helped us by coordinating one of our activities.

During the Open Days, which started with an underground-only family day on Friday afternoon and lasted until Sunday evening, almost 300 ATLAS members joined as volunteers to make the ATLAS activities – as far as I am concerned – a huge success.

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