by Min Jung Kweon & Panos Charitos. Published: 20 June 2013

During the ALICE Collaboration Board in March a new institute was admitted to ALICE: Inha University, Korea. ALICE MATTERS met MinJung Kweon, the physicist within the Nuclear Physics Group in the department of Physics at Inha University, who is leading the involvement with ALICE and discussed with her about their future steps.

View of the campus from the main entrance of the university.

Inha University is located in Incheon, which is situated at roughly the midpoint on the west coast of the Korean Peninsula and populated with three million people. Located just 28 km from Seoul the capital of Korea, Incheon shares roughly the same latitude as San Francisco and Madrid. The city is notable as the international city linking Northeast Asia to the world with harbors and the airport (Incheon International Airport). It is worth emphasizing that it only takes about 30 minutes from Incheon national airport to Inha University providing easy accessibility.

Inha University was established upon the ideals of leadership, expertise and service to the country right after the Korean War in 1954. Starting from Inha Institute of Technology, with its great mission to foster excellent students who would contribute to the development of the nation’s scientific and technological industries, the institute was elevated to the status of university in 1971 following its rapid development. With its unique history, Inha has long produced talented professionals for the science and technology sectors. The Physics Department of Inha University has shown its strength in condensed matter physics, photonics, quantum information, complex system and nuclear physics theory.

Campus roads covered with cherry blossoms

There have been only three faculty members in the nuclear theory group working on relativistic heavy ion collisions and low energy hadron physics (while one member retired last year). MinJung Kweon recently joined the Inha University after working with ALICE for almost seven years as a member of the Heidelberg group. Based on the brand-new close connection between the theorists and the experimentalist in this nuclear physics group, the scope of the nuclear physics group goes to understand beyond their usual boundaries and make collaborative research efforts.

The members of the nuclear physics group (including potential ALICE members who would join in near future) in front of the original benchmark of the elevation in Korea (upper) and in front of the DC-3 type airplane (lower). Inha university houses the original benchmark of the reference point from which the elevation of any location in Korea is measured standing 26.6871 meters high from the average sea level. The historical DC-3 type airplane is located next to the main building, which was donated by the Korean Airline in 1974.

Our research interest is focused on studying the properties of the medium created from heavy ion collisions using rare probes. Especially at the beginning, we will strive to work on the measurements of heavy quark production to understand the colour charge and the mass dependence of the energy loss in the medium. We are confident that we can play an important role in this topic in the ALICE collaboration based on the research experience. 

In the same context, it is a natural direction given the group expertise in instrumentation related to the analysis of interest for the ALICE upgrade projects. With such a reasonable motivation, we will be contributing to the ITS upgrade project. As a part of the project, we have already started to work on physics performance study using single electron decay channel of beauty hadrons. We intend to start with testing electronics to characterize pixel chip prototypes and extend to contribute on the development of the assembly and test procedure of the pixel ladders. It is nice that the Pusan National University and the Yonsei University, both members of the KO-ALICE, made a commitment to work in the ITS upgrade project. Therefore the effort will be made in a collaborative way in larger teams in Korea and furthermore with various institutes in EAST ASIA as discussed in the first EAST ASIA-ITS upgrade meeting held in Inha University (see article in the previous issue of ALICE MATTERS).

EAST ASIA – ITS Upgrade workshop was held by the Inha University in Incheon on the 5th and 6th of April. You can read the full story here

The Inha University group sincerely hopes to become an active member of ALICE bringing its enthusiasm to the collaboration.