Category Archives: Munich

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 …


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.

ESO Supernova

‘A New Supernova over Munich’, that’s the slogan of the ESO planetarium and visitor centre that opened recently. It’s not exactly above Munich, as Garching is a bit of a subway ride outside of town, but it’s certainly worth the trip!

They have a very nice permanent exhibition called “The Living Universe” which covers about everything from where we are to what we know about our Universe. There’s temporary exhibitions as well as a fantastic planetarium, with lots of different shows, on top of that. I’ve seen the “Phantom of the Universe” as well as “Two Small Pieces of Glass — The Amazing Telescope“, and they are both great movies. Obviously the former of the two has to be, as it features the ATLAS experiment and was in part done by ATLAS people (thanks for that).

The best part is, that both the exhibitions and the planetarium shows are (still) free of charge. So there’s really no excuse for not passing by!!