Category Archives: DESY

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 …

More on slammed science

Just got an email with the links to the first Youtube videos from the Weltmaschine Science Slam in November.
Be aware that all is in German.

1. “Schwarze Löcher am LHC Teilchenbeschleuniger” (Sofie Wolf)
2. “Das ATLAS-Experiment” (me)
3. “Dark Matter: Kleine Teilchen, dunkle Massen” (Eike Middell)

?. “Die Naturgesetz-Maschine – Das Noether-Theorem” (Ulrik Günther)
?. “Von Flaschen, Mücken und UFOs – Der LHC-Teilchenbeschleuniger” (Clemens Lange)
?. “Zufall, Zonk und Z-Boson – Wahrscheinlichkeit und Monte-Carlo-Simulationen” (Martin Mamach)

Slam time [update]

Today is slam time in Berlin … my first one … quite excited!
19h00 at Urania Berlin (link).

Back from the slam … second of six :) … it was an interesting and entertaining night, though I didn’t see much as I had to wait outside for all others to finish before me … anyways, there might be another slam coming up some time next year …

Apparently there will be recordings of the event on youtube at some point … I’ll keep you updated!


Woooh … I just made it into the news on a local TV station (for three seconds about two minutes into the video, only in the background, though)! Here’s the video link. Great isn’t it …
Almost as cool as my interview with a local newspaper last week … though the quote is not actually mine, the experiment is called ATLAS and not Astra and Thomas is not my Professor and … well whatever!