Category Archives: LMU

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.

IPPOG meeting,
ATLAS Week, Open Day

The past ten days have been somewhat crazy (unfortunately the upcoming ones don’t seem to be calmer) …

From 4 to 6 October I joined the autumn meeting of the International Particle Physics Outreach Group (IPPOG) at CERN as the representative of the ATLAS Collaboration, listening to and discussing about worldwide efforts in particle physics science education and communication. IPPOG – a global network of scientists, science educators and communication specialists – welcomed four new members at the end of the meeting: Austria, Denmark, the LHCb Collaboration and the ALICE Collaboration. Amongst other things we had brainstorm session on possible new exhibits to improve and extend the IPPOG resource database and how to communicate the knowledge transfer from particle physics to society.

From 8 to 12 October I was at CERN for the ATLAS Collaboration Week as well as lots of other meetings. In an intensive though productive outreach session, we dedicated a large fraction of the time to the status of and future plans for ATLAS Open Data. On Thursday we had 39 students from LMU Munich over for a full-day visit to CERN, in particular the  Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer (AMS-02) Control Room, the CERN Control Centre, the magnet-test facility (SM18) as well as the ATLAS Visitor Centre. And … hohoho … I witnessed a very special VIP (white-bearded guy dressed in red) visit to ATLAS last week ;)

Last but not least, on 13 October we had our annual Open Day in Garching, this time incorporated into the 150 years TUM celebrations (who shouldn’t get any credits, because they didn’t print our activity in the official programme … buh!). Similar to last year’s event, we had the ground floor of the Institute for Advanced Studies and showed the ATLAS LEGO model, hosted a Build Your Own Particle Detector event/competition and had a little particle physics exhibition with live event displays from CERN, short movies about ATLAS and CERN, the Netzwerk Teilchenwelt button machine and loads of discussions. Finally we hosted a screening of ‘BBC Horizon – Inside CERN‘, a documentary about the ‘famous’ 750 GeV bump in 2015 LHC data, as well as an extensive question-and-answer sessions afterwards.

Open Day & Fotohalbmarathon

Wow … what a weekend. After returning from the LHC LLP Workshop in Trieste at 7am on Saturday, I went straight to Garching to set up the scene for our 2017 Garching Open Day event starting at 11am. After getting home at 10pm I got started on the final preparations for Sunday’s 2017 Fotohalbmarathon. But one after the other …

Once again, and thanks to a great team, we had an exemplary Open Day event on Saturday … ATLAS live-info screens and posters, a button machine, a BYOPD competition, a large ATLAS LEGO model, short-film screenings throughout the day, a screening of “BBC Horizon – Inside CERN” in the evening, and several hundred people passing by (47 participants in the BYOPD competition) and chatting/discussing with us. The final QnA after the movie took longer than the movie itself :)

On Sunday I organised the ninth (my fifth) edition of our little version of a photo marathon, called Fotohalbmarathon. This year’s twelve topics followed the theme ‘Urban Globetrotter‘.

For both events the juries are still busy working out the best contributions ;)

Cheeez

We had Christmas dinner at work yesterday … more than two kilograms of cheese (Appenzeller, Gruyère, Emmental and an old Tyrol cheese) in seven different kinds of cheese fondue (Appenzeller, Gruyère, Tyrol, tomato mixed, spring onion mixed, bacon mixed, chives mixed; and yes, I know it’s eight caquelons) for about 40 group members. Certainly an experience … from shopping, over preparation, to the dinner itself :)