Category Archives: CERN

ALICE in bricks

Over the past four months, and together with Christian Klein-Boesing, Marcus Mikorski and a few others, we have been running a workshop for high-school and early-university students to design and build the ALICE Experiment at CERN in LEGO bricks.
As part of the weekly meetings we had with the students we also introduced basic concepts of particle, heavy-ion and detector physics.

The workshop series was organised and funded by the ErUM-FSP T01 project “Expansion of ALICE at the LHC: experiments with the ALICE detector at CERN”, which in turn is funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF).

The first models in real-live bricks are foreseen to be build end of June 2021 at Goethe University Frankfurt and University of Münster, with both their ALICE groups taking a leading role in this effort.

The designs and parts lists will be made available on the Build Your Own Particle Detector website to join the already existing LEGO models of other LHC experiments.

Here’s a few rough teaser renderings from the current state of affairs …

Stay tuned for more updates to come soon!

[edit] The project has also been presented at the spring meeting of the International Particle Physics Outreach Group (IPPOG) that started today.

Let me take you on a tour to the ATLAS Experiment

Today we published a 360-degree guided video tour to the ATLAS Experiment I recorded already back in February and recently finished editing.
You won’t need a helmet or solid shoes for this tour and you’re welcome to bring your kids along. This special tour will even take you places you wouldn’t be able to see on a regular tour on site, and you’ll have the chance to look around by yourself.
Last but not least, you can get yourself a Google Cardboard, put your mobile phone into it and enjoy the tour in virtual reality, making it an even more immersive experience.

It’s my second larger Final Cut Pro project after our little ATLAS–LEGO-stop-motion stay-at-home activity :)

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.

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 …