Daniel visits us from UCI, where he is associate professor of experimental particle physics, to share with us his work with the ATLAS detector at CERN's Large Hadron Collider (LHC) near Geneva. 


Daniel's delightfully entertaining and inciteful presentation described how the recent highly energetic (world-record) collisions at the LHC let us explore new territories of particle creation more extensive than anything previously recorded.

Daniel's motivation is simple: What are things made of? What is the true 'periodic table' of elementary particles? And unexpected results are not always the most far reaching, but certainly the most fun.

Energetic collisions allow conversion of low mass, high kinetic energy particles into new higher mass, lower kinetic energy particles. The world-record energy frontiers at the LHC may thus be populated with new particles which (i) shed light on the nature of dark matter (ii) extend the current table of the fundamental particles (iii) demonstrate the existence of new fundamental forces or  (iv) reveal startling and completely unexpected properties. 

The collosal ATLAS detector at 45 meters long, 25 meters high and 7,000 tons generates data at the rate of 100,000 CDs per second—a stack of CDs 140 meters high every second. Since only a fraction of this data can be feasibly recorded, Daniel and his collaborators' task is to decide what data is actually retained, currently some 27 CDs worth per minute, and how it's to be processed and interpreted. The search for new physics in these virtual haystacks boggles the mind but only motivates Daniel.

Daniel described the strategy for mapping this new territory and compared the present recent results from the ATLAS with the state of the art findings from the Fermilab Tevatron Collider.

Thank you Daniel, we look forward to your return for an update on the possible detection of the Higgs boson!