by Panos Charitos. Published: 19 May 2013

The 7th CERN – Latin America High Energy Physics School (CLASHEP) was hosted this year by PUCP in Arequipa, Peru, from 6 to 19 March.

The 2013 CLASHEP was attended by 69 students coming from 18 countries including 19 students from Peru.  With its record-breaking attendance and strong international spirit, this year’s CLASHEP is another sign of the country’s growing particle physics community that is reflected in the collaboration of PUCP in the ALICE experiment as well as in experimental neutrino physics.

Students of the CERN-Latin American School attended a comprehensive programme of 32 lectures and five discussion sessions.

During the School, students attended a comprehensive programme of 32 lectures and five discussion sessions. In the afternoons they were also given the opportunity to present their work in student poster sessions. Furthermore, the students were also involved in collaborative projects. They were given a published experimental paper and they were asked to conduct an in-depth study of the published data analysis, which involved many of the issues discussed during the lectures. In that way, students had to work with colleagues from different countries and cultures outside of the formal teaching sessions. At the end of this project, a student representative from each of the five groups presented a short summary of the conclusions of the group’s work in a special evening session.

A photo from the student project session: students were asked to to conduct an in-depth study of a published paper and come with their own questions.

A student representative from each of the five groups presented a short summary of the conclusions of the group’s work in a special evening session

Dr. Alberto Gago Medina, Professor of the Physics department at PUCP, had the responsibility of being the local director of this school.  He highlights that "having organized a school at such a high level is extremely competitive and very important for PUCP as it shows an implicit recognition of the scientific work that we have been doing at CERN over the last years”. Peru has seen a growing development of the field of high energy physics thanks to the work of the teams working in the ALICE experiment as well as their work in neutrino physics.

The students were given the chance to present their results in poster sessions.

The collaboration of PUCP with ALICE started in 2004 when Professor Gerardo Herrera, one of the leaders of the Mexican group in ALICE, proposed me to engage my group in the study of the validation of the design of one of the V0 detectors, device for triggering, measuring collision centrality, multiplicity. In fact, I worked on my Master thesis, under the supervision of Dr Herrera, on Bose-Einstein correlations, an important tool for studying the quark-gluon plasma.

The next year the HELEN project started and the PUCP was one of the institutions funded by this project. In this way, our university was allowed to have students spending some time at CERN, as in other Latin American and European institutions, and, at the same time, we have the opportunity to receive visiting scientist at PUCP. Consequently, we had the chance to strongly interact with CERN’s senior scientist Dr. Andreas Morsch from the ALICE experiment, another key person in our relationship with ALICE-CERN.

The HELEN Project was fundamental for the advancements that were later achieved and for attracting the interest of young researchers in the field. Following the end of the HELEN project, EPLANET was launched in 2011 with a clear aim on further fostering the relations between Europe and Latin America in high energy physics.

During these years there have been a number of contributions of the PUCP group to the ALICE experiment, mainly in software development and detector performance studies. Since some years, our group is heavily involved in the software development, design, performance and analysis for a new detector array for diffractive physics in ALICE. This new system has been implemented for studying diffractive physics. We also had the responsibility for the analysis of the cross sections for diffractive processes (single and double) with 8 TeV data. Finally, as a part of our future plans, we are having institutional discussions to evaluate the most suitable project of the upgrade of the ALICE detector for us to be involved. Nowadays there are two students working on the PUCP-ALICE team, bringing the total to six students who have worked on the ALICE experiment.

The students who participated in this years CERN - Latin America School. We hope to see them at CERN soon.

The CERN Latin American School is jointly organized by: the European Laboratory for Particle Physics (CERN), Geneva, Switzerland; CIEMAT, Research Organization of the Spanish Ministry of Education and Science; RENAFAE, National Network for High Energy Physics, Brazil. The local organizing committee consisted of our colleagues from PUCP as well as from UNSA and UNI, namely: Hernán  Castillo (PUCP), David  Pacheco (UNSA), Rolando Perca (UNSA), Orlando Pereyra (UNI) and Javier Solano (UNI).