My adventure as an experimental particle physicist in ALICE started in October 2002, when I started to work on my Master degree thesis, in the Physics Department of the Bari University in Italy, as a member of the ALICE-HMPID group. In the framework of my thesis, I have studied the HMPID performance, exploiting both Monte Carlo simulations and real data from test beam. In July 2003 I got my Master degree.
In February 2004 I started my PhD while I continued working with the same institute and group. I have been involved in the feasibility study for a new Cherenkov detector, the VHMPID (Very High Momentum Particle Identification Detector) dedicated to particle identification on a track-by-track basis, thus allowing the tracking of charged particles at higher momenta than those reached by the HMPID. Finally, I completed my PhD thesis in April 2007.
After my PhD, I got research grants from the University of Bari and the INFN (Istituto Nazionale di Fisica Nucleare), that allowed me to continue my activities concerning simulation, pattern recognition and tracking of the VHMPID detector. In that sense, I played a key role in the VHMPID proto-collaboration. Besides these activities, I was deeply involved in the HMPID AliRoot code development and maintenance. Moreover, I participated in the commissioning of the HMPID detector, getting some experience in the Detector Control System (DCS), in the Data Acquisition (DAQ) and in the hardware part of the project.
I made an important contribution to the analysis of the first cosmics and LHC proton-proton and Pb-Pb collision data collected by the HMPID. From September 2012 until December 2014, with a fellow position at CERN, I still continued my work in the HMPID group, as responsible of the calibration, tracking and alignment and PID performance of the detector, representing it in the ALICE Computing Board. As sub-system run coordinator, I directly followed the data taking activity for HMPID, spending a lot of time in the ALICE Control Room. I was also involved in physics analysis, in particular in the evaluation of hadron spectra and ratios, inside the light-flavour physics group. Currently I am a post-doc of the Wigner Institute in Budapest, permanently based at CERN. Since some months, I have been appointed Deputy Team Leader of the HMPID project.
I was very enthusiastic and proud when the Run Coordinator, Federico Ronchetti, proposed me to be one of the Period Run Coordinators (PRC) of 2015. I would like to thank him for giving me this possibility. In this way, I can exploit the experience gained so far working in the ALICE Collaboration and increase my knowledge on the different ALICE subsystems. At the same time, I was a bit “scared” as I was aware of the important responsibilities of this role. On 1 May, I started my mandate as PRC, spending most of my time in the ALICE Run Control Centre at P2, supervising and coordinating the run activities; a very exciting task! Although it has also been quite exhausting I will miss the time I spent in the ARC when I end my mandate and hand over to Dhevan Raja Gangadharan, the next PRC.