Chris Parkes of the University of Manchester in the UK has been appointed as the new spokesperson of the LHCb experiment collaboration. Parkes, who was previously the deputy spokesperson of the collaboration, will represent more than 1400 people from 85 institutions in 19 countries for a period of three years, beginning 1 July 2020.
Parkes takes over the LHCb leadership from Giovanni Passaleva of the National Institute for Nuclear Physics in Florence, Italy, who has served as LHCb spokesperson since 1 July 2017.
“It’s an exciting time to take the reins of LHCb,” say Parkes. “We are preparing many exciting physics results from analyses of the full data taken during the first decade of LHC operations. We’re currently constructing and installing our new detector apparatus, the LHCb Upgrade I. It will allow us to collect larger data sets and relies on a new paradigm of real-time analysis, free of the restrictions that come with a traditional hardware trigger. The construction activities have been heavily disrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic, but we are working together across the international collaboration to complete the experiment. For the further future, we are planning an Upgrade II of the detector that will allow the full exploitation of the High-Luminosity LHC. LHCb is a growing global community that celebrates our diversity and spirit of open collaboration. It will be a pleasure and honour to lead the collaboration in the next stage of its journey.”
“It has been a great pleasure serving the collaboration these last three years,” says Passaleva. “During this term Chris and I have led a major renewal and improvement of the experiment for the upcoming LHC Run 3. And we had the fortune to witness historical discoveries! It was really great to work with Chris and I have no doubt he will lead LHCb to new heights.”
Parkes is a professor at the University of Manchester, UK. He has been deputy spokesperson of LHCb for the past three years and has been a member of the collaboration for more than twenty years. Parkes was one of the instigators of both the LHCb Upgrade I and II, and led the UK’s construction activities for the LHCb Upgrade I. He has worked extensively on physics studies involving the charm quark and on the LHCb Vertex Locator (VELO) detector, serving as the detector’s Project Leader during the first LHC physics period (2010–2012). Prior to LHCb, he worked on W-boson physics with the DELPHI experiment at the previous CERN collider, LEP.
On 11 June, LHCb announced the winners of the 2020 PhD Thesis and Early Career Scientist Awards.
The LHCb Thesis Awards recognize excellent PhD theses and additional work that have made an exceptional contribution to LHCb. In parallel, the Early Career Scientist prizes are awarded to recognize outstanding achievements of early career scientists to the benefit of LHCb.
This year’s winners of the Thesis prize are Philippe D'Argent (Heidelberg University) and Laurent Dufour (Nikhef/Groningen University. Carlos Abellan Beteta (Zurich), Claudia Bertella (CERN), Daniel Campora (Nikhef), Nadim Conti (INFN, Milan), Edgar Lemos Cid (Santiago de Compostela), Olli Lupton (Warwick), Mark Smith (Imperial College), Dorothea vom Bruch (LPNHE, Paris) were awarded the Early Career prize.
“The number of brilliant winners of the Early Career Scientist prize and the extraordinary level of the PhD theses evaluated, show how crucial the contribution of younger colleagues to the experiment activities truly is”, point out Francesca Dordei and Stephanie Hansmann-Menzemer, Chairs of the Prize Committees. “It was really hard for the Committees to select only a few names among the many early career scientists and PhD students that not only contribute but often lead cutting edge developments in LHCb physics, detector and software developments”. Almost 350 PhD students study in the collaboration on diverse areas of LHCb physics, ranging from physics analysis to advanced detector and software developments.
Plastic scintillators are one of the most used active materials in high-energy physics. Their properties make it possible to track and distinguish between particle topologies. Among other things, scintillators are used in the detectors of neutrino oscillation experiments, where they reconstruct the final state of the neutrino interaction. Measurements of oscillation phenomena are carried out through comparison of observations of neutrinos in near detectors (close to the target) and far detectors (up to several hundred kilometres away).
CERN is strongly involved in the T2K experiment, the current world-leading neutrino oscillation experiment, in Japan, which recently released promising results. A future upgrade of the experiment’s near detector will pave the way for more precise results. The novel detector will comprise a two-tonne polystyrene-based plastic scintillator detector segmented into 1 x 1 x 1 cm3 cubes, leading to a total of around two million sensitive elements: the smaller the cubes, the more precise the results. This technology could be adopted for other projects, such as the DUNE near detector. However, more precise measurements would require finer granularity, making the detector assembly harder.
This is where the CERN EP-Neutrino group – led by Albert De Roeck – steps in, developing a new plastic scintillator production technique that involves additive manufacturing. The R&D is carried out in collaboration with the Institute for Scintillation Materials (ISMA) of the National Academy of Science of Ukraine, which has strong expertise in the development of scintillator materials, and the Haute École d’Ingénierie et Gestion du Canton de Vaud (HEIG-VD), which is expert in additive manufacturing. The final goal is to 3D-print a “super-cube”, that is, a single massive block of scintillator containing many optically independent cubes. 3D-printing would solve the issue of assembling the individual cubes, which could thus be produced in any size, including smaller than 1 cm3, and relatively quickly (volumes bigger than 20 x 20 x 20 cm3 can be produced in about a day).
So far, the collaboration has been fruitful. A preliminary test gave the first proof of concept: the scintillation light yield of a polystyrene-based scintillator 3D-printed with fused deposition modelling (see fig. 2) has been found to be comparable to that of a traditional scintillator. But the road towards a ready-to-use super-cube is still long. Further optimisation of the scintillator parameters and tuning of the 3D-printer configuration, followed by a full characterisation of the 3D-printed scintillator, will need to be achieved before the light reflector material for optically isolating the cubes can be developed.
This new technique could also open up new possibilities for the field of particle detection. A successful 3D-printed plastic scintillator detector could pave the way for a broader use of this technology in detector building, which could shake up the field of high-energy physics, as well as that of medicine, where particle detectors are used, for instance, in cancer therapy. Moreover, the greatly cost-effective 3D-printer could be replicated quite easily and used in a vast number of settings. Umut Kose, from the EP-neutrino group and Neutrino Platform at CERN, explains: “Our dream goes beyond the super-cube. We like to think that, in a few years, 3D-printing will allow high-school students to make their own radiation detection systems. The outreach potential of this technology is mind-blowing”.
Davide Sgalaberna, now at ETH Zurich, cannot hide his enthusiasm for this adventure: “This is the first time that 3D-printing could be used for real particle detectors. We are transforming our personal will into a project, and we are hopeful that this could lead to a breakthrough. That is thrilling”. A thrill shared by Davide’s colleagues, who are more than ready to resume work on the 3D-printed detector once the easing of lockdown allows everyone to return to CERN.
Read the full story in the EP newsletter
The Workshop on Applied Quantum Technologies will be held in Erfurt, Germany, on 1 and 2 October 2020. The workshop is organized by CiS e.V.
Exciting lectures from the CiS Research Institute and international speakers from research and industry will provide the framework for ideas, partnerships and applications. Take the opportunity to present your work and company activities in these fields, network with other experts and get up-to-date on current development trends. These topics will be discussed in four sessions:
Call for Abstracts
Take the opportunity to present your research and company activities in these areas, to network and to discuss current development trends. The evening program on the 1st evening of the two-day conference offers a pleasant setting for a continuation of the exchange.
In addition to some invited lectures, free technical contributions of about 15 minutes duration with subsequent discussion are planned.
You would like to apply as a speaker for the workshop? Please submit your abstract by 30 June 2020: https://www.cismst.de/workshops/quanten-2020/
The schedule will be set up until mid of July 2020, you will receive the agenda with your program contribution (you will not receive a confirmation of abstract receipt from us). The oral presentation time is max. 15 min, plus 5 minutes discussion time. An additional poster session is also planned. Please describe your presentation title and content exactly. This will enable us to place your contribution in the appropriate session.
At the moment, we are assuming that we will conduct the workshop as planned with personal contact in Erfurt, taking into account all prescribed protective and hygiene measures. Nevertheless, we are aware of how dynamic the developments around COVID-19 are. Therefore we are also looking for options for the implementation as an online workshop. Should there be any changes in the format, we will inform known interested parties by e-mail or you can find current information on the workshop websites.
The CLOUD collaboration has revealed a new mechanism that drives winter smog episodes in cities. The results, published yesterday in the journal Nature, could help inform policies for reducing urban particle pollution, which ranks fifth in the risk factors for mortality worldwide.
Winter urban smog episodes occur when new particles form in polluted air trapped below a temperature inversion. The warm air above the inversion inhibits convection, causing pollution to build up near the ground. However, how additional aerosol particles manage to form and grow in this highly polluted air has been a mystery until now, because they should be rapidly lost through scavenging by pre-existing aerosols. A new result from CLOUD could explain the mystery.
The CLOUD experiment (Cosmics Leaving Outdoor Droplets) at CERN involves a special cloud chamber capable of mimicking all the diverse aspects of Earth’s atmosphere, with precise control of the conditions and extremely low contaminants. Data from sampling instruments attached to the chamber allow a comprehensive understanding of the formation of aerosol particles and their effect on clouds and climate. Ions from cosmic rays can also influence aerosol formation, and their contributions are studied by varying the intensity of a pion beam from CERN’s Proton Synchrotron, which passes through the chamber.
In their new study, CLOUD scientists simulated polluted urban conditions in the chamber and investigated the role of ammonia and nitric acid at atmospheric concentrations. Global emissions of ammonia are dominated by farming. In cities, however, the presence of both ammonia and nitric acid – which derives from nitrogen oxides (NOx) - is largely due to vehicles.
"Ammonia and nitric acid were previously thought to play a passive role in particle formation, simply exchanging with ammonium nitrate in the particles”, says Jasper Kirkby, head of the CLOUD experiment.
However, the new CLOUD study showed that small inhomogeneities in the concentrations of ammonia and nitric acid - which only persist for a few minutes - can lead to particle growth rates up to more than 100 times faster than previously seen, but only in short spurts that have escaped detection so far. These ultrafast growth rates are sufficient to rapidly transform the newly formed particles to larger size, where they are less prone to being lost through scavenging by pre-existing particles. The end result is a dense smog episode with a high number of particles.
“Although the emission of nitrogen oxides is regulated, ammonia emissions are not and may even be increasing with the latest catalytic converters used in gasoline and diesel vehicles. Our study shows that regulating ammonia emissions from vehicles could contribute to reducing urban smog,” concludes Jasper Kirkby.Interview of Jasper Kirkby, CLOUD experiment spokesperson (Video: CERN)
CLOUD experiment (Image: CERN)cloud_collaboration.pdf
Teresa Rodrigo Anoro, professor of atomic and nuclear physics at the University of Cantabria, died peacefully at home on 20 April after a long illness. Teresa Rodrigo was a leading figure within the particle physics community and played a key role in shaping Spanish particle physics policies, with emphasis on promoting the participation of women in science.
Teresa Rodrigo was born in Lleida, Spain, in 1956. After her bachelor’s degree in physics from the University of Zaragoza, she joined the High-Energy Physics group of La Junta de Energía Nuclear in Madrid (currently CIEMAT), earning a PhD in 1985 on the production of strange particles at the NA23 experiment at CERN, under the supervision of Antonio Ferrando. She moved to CERN to participate in the development of the Uranium-TMP calorimeter for the upgrade of the UA1 experiment, where she started her personal journey towards finding the top quark, which eventually brought her to the CDF experiment at Fermilab. There, she carried out the detailed modelling of the W+jet background, a crucial part of the top discovery. In 1994, she took up a faculty position at the Instituto de Física de Cantabria (IFCA) in Santander, launching a new line of research on hadronic collider physics and incorporating the IFCA group into both the CDF experiment and the newly formed CMS collaboration. Under her direction, the group continued her study of the properties of the top quark and opened up a new line of research towards the discovery of the Higgs boson. More recently, moving away from hadron beams for the first time, Teresa promoted a new line of research on the search for light dark matter particles at the DAMIC experiment. Teresa was well aware of the importance of technology development and detector building in HEP and orchestrated her group’s contribution to the construction of the CMS muon spectrometer, in particular its muon alignment system, and to the building of the ToF detector of the CDF experiment.
Teresa’s scientific insight and strong commitment to whatever endeavour she was engaged in were well recognised by the international HEP community: she was elected chair of the CMS Collaboration Board (2011-12) and served as a member of several scientific policy committees, including the European Physics Society HEPP Board (2006-2013) and the CERN Scientific Policy Committee (2012-2017). Outside the world of academia, she was a member of several Spanish ministerial scientific panels and of the technical and research panel of the Princesa de Asturias awards. She also held an honorary doctorate from the Universidad Internacional Menéndez Pelayo and received the silver medal of the Universidad de Cantabria and the first Julio Peláez award for female pioneers in science, among other recognitions.
Teresa’s influence on the Santander HEP group and the IFCA institute that she directed until a few months ago remains very visible. During her tenure, the group grew considerably in terms of both staff and research infrastructures, greatly expanding its activities. Under her directorship, the institute was awarded the greatest distinction of excellence of the Spanish science system, the Maria de Maeztu grant, and the gender equality prize awarded by the Spanish National Research Council (CSIC).
Some of us, who were fortunate enough to know Teresa and to share some of her scientific passions, are aware of how kind, approachable, righteous and sympathetic she was, though with a strong personal character that came from her deep honesty, both in life and as a scientist. Teresa’s legacy stands as a testament to her leadership, her vision and her ability to mentor rising colleagues. She will be sorely missed.
We would like to express our sympathies and heartfelt condolences to her husband Antonio and her family.
Her colleagues and friends
It is with great sadness that we inform you that Danila Tlisov, a member of the CMS collaboration at CERN, passed away on 14 April in Russia due to complications associated with COVID-19. He was 36 years old.
Danila joined the INR Moscow group in 2010 as a young researcher after graduating with honours from Moscow State University and defending his dissertation. Following his contributions to early heavy-neutrino searches, Danila started to work on the CMS hadron calorimeter (HCAL) subsystem in 2012.
Danila himself was the strong hub of the multinational CMS HCAL upgrade effort, leading the CERN-based team that received individual components from India, Russia, Turkey and the United States and assembled them into a working detector. Danila recently brought his unique mix of strengths to the CMS HCAL management team as Deputy Project Manager and a member of the CMS Management.
In the physics analysis realm, Danila worked with the University of Rochester group on a measurement of the electroweak mixing angle using the forward-backward asymmetry in Drell-Yan events. Danila focused on critical improvements to the calibration of the electron-energy measurements in challenging regions of Drell-Yan kinematic phase space.
CMS friends and colleagues remember fondly the warm smile and incredibly effective leadership of Danila. His practical know-how and excellent judgement were critical as we worked together through the usual tough challenges of a detector upgrade.
Danila was an accomplished backcountry touring skier. Because of his great physical strength and focus on climbing, it was often said that he may have been faster going uphill than downhill, and that is saying a lot.
Among his many colleagues, Danila will be remembered for his pleasant, cheerful disposition even during times of intense pressure. He challenged us with his brilliant ideas, guided students with patience and grace and inspired us all. He will be sorely missed.
We would like to express our sympathies and heartfelt condolences to his wife and his family in Russia.
His colleagues and friends from the CMS collaboration