After more than sixteen years at the ATLAS experiment it seems to be time for a change, and for me that change is going from quarks to qubits, and from a mix of fundamental research, teaching and science communication to a full-time job working on public engagement and didactics for the recently founded Munich Quantum Valley.
“Locked Out” is the title for a piece I created in memory of the 19 hours we’ve been locked out of our apartment last week, due to a material defect in our apartment-door lock.
A broken piece inside the locking mechanism of the door caused the key to turn inside the lock cylinder without actually moving the bolt in the lock (obviously this we only learned after all the hassle). After informing the janitor at about 8pm, him calling two somewhat suspicious ‘locksmith’ services, quite a bit of waiting time and both failing on the door after trying out all their arsenal on the lock, we called it a night at about 12:30am and joined our kids at some friends’ place.
After sending the kids to school on borrowed clothes, food and school equipment, we got back to the action with another locksmith who at least didn’t even try and just recommended a dedicated expert. Around around lunch time the forth (well, maybe the first real) locksmith arrived and took about two more hours to open the door with heavy machinery (and brain).
As of today I can call myself “Privatdozent” at LMU Munich, giving me the ability to officially take on and take exams of my own master and PhD students at the department :)
Given the certainly very unique situation caused by the current corona pandemic, I decided to set up a little live blog to document the next couple of weeks representing a mixtures of home office, home schooling, home day care and whatever is yet to come …
In the following live life blog, I’ll focus on a few specific, mostly non-work, activities whenever something comes up …
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 …