Category Archives: Berlin

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 …

The past weeks

Being on parental leave and partially in the offline world over the past weeks has caused my blog to run a bit dry. So being back in Munich it’s a good time to wrap up some of things that happened.

I’ve had my first ever geocaching giga event (Mia san Giga!). In fact, the whole world had its first giga event on 16 August 2014. Though I only stayed shortly at the main event, I, together with some fellow cachers (greetz), used the day to do some more geocaching and had a nice walking tour somewhere south of Munich.c5556ad3-370b-4077-9349-49e3ab7ed949

After that, we took off for some holidays in and around Berlin, which turned out to be surprisingly disconnected from the online world, again full of geocaching and filled with meetings … with friends, not work (greetz to everyone).

On our way back home, and due to the twelve hours of horrible traffic on the southbound highways we had already faced, we decided to have a little break and stay for one night in Nuremberg. We got ourselves a room in a well located Youth Hostel, right next to the old castle and used the time to see some parts of the city.

Now we are back in Munich trying to get back to a bit of routine …


IMG_20140801_110230Today, I changed the license plates of my old and new Hyundai from Berlin plates to Munich plates. I had to destroy the  Berlin Bear seal on my old plates myself. An emotionally moving moment, which the Bavarian clerk did not fully grasp. She tried to calm me down by offering me the Münchner Kindl as substitute, but as you can see, she failed to know their own seals. It ended up to be the lesser coat of arms of Bavaria. Well … in her defence, the Kindl ended up sitting in one of the papers I got , but still.

In the end, I have to say that I was quite impressed by the efficiency of my visit at the authorities. Despite the waiting time (57 people in front of us and today no advantage in bringing the your little son), the whole procedure, including office work, payments and pressing/printing the new plates only took 20 minutes. The fact that we jumped on the wrong train afterwards, did probably cost me more time after all.

Copenhagen, Mittenwalde, Berlin, Beijing

Another weekend, another trip … this time it’s good old Berlin, with a little detour to Mittenwald, and then Beijing.

The programme is friends, the school enrolment of my godchild, family and friends and the 20th International Conference on Supersymmetry and Unification of Fundamental Interactions at Peking University in Beijing, China.

And it all starts this afternoon/evening.

Ohh … I’m looking forward :)