by Panos Charitos. Published: 16 February 2015

I am a PhD student at IIT Bombay, Mumbai, India, since January 2012. I am working with the Heavy Flavor Physics group in ALICE and my analysis topic is “Measurement of Heavy Flavour azimuthal correlations in pp, p-Pb and Pb-Pb collisions”. I am also working on other topics such as “Measurement of single tracking efficiency in ALICE” and “Simulation study of heavy-flavour correlations processes and other properties using different event generators”. I am currently stationed at CERN for a one-year period with an ALICE fellowship. The goal of my internship is to perform detailed simulations of heavy-flavour correlation processes.

1) What is your previous background/studies?

I received my undergraduate degree in general science (Physics, Maths, Chemistry) from Jodhpur University, Rajasthan, India. I was interested in physics and had the opportunity to pursue an Integrated PhD course (MSc-PhD) from the Department of Physics, IIT Bombay, and I now continue my PhD with ALICE.

2) How did you decide to work in HEP and when did you join ALICE?

Ever since my childhood, I have been interested in the search for truth, so I went to IIT Bombay to pursue my childhood dreams. I went around asking different faculty members about the research they were doing and really liked the work of my supervisor Prof. Raghava Varma, hence I chose experimental high energy physics. I did a two semester research project with him and enjoyed the friendly way in which he interacts with students. Since he is working in the ALICE collaboration, I landed here. I joined the ALICE experiment in March 2012, just after finishing my Master's in Physics at IIT Bombay. India participates in ALICE and CMS, and IIT Bombay is a major collaborator of the former. We are contributing towards data analysis as well as future hardware upgrades.

3) Could you describe the project in which you are currently working?

I am currently working in the heavy flavour physics sector and my specific area of research is azimuthal correlation between heavy flavour and particles produced in the fire ball. The aim of such study is to find energy loss of heavy particles when it passes the medium produced in the collision. I am also working on “Simulation study of heavy-flavour correlations processes and other properties using different event generators” and “the measurement of single track efficiency in ALICE” as a service task.

4) How do you feel working in the ARC a few months before the restart of the LHC?

This the first time I did shifts since starting my PhD. I wanted to learn about the data taking procedure, as I have been performing data analysis for the last couple of years. After attending the classes of DCS and DQM, I started my training with DCS first. I really enjoyed the friendly atmosphere in which the complex tasks are explained by the shift leader. During my DCS training, Despina Hatzifotiadou (DCS Shifter) kindly explained to me how the DCS system works, and my main duties and responsibilities. It was an informative day and I played with some basic DCS operations that I had learned from the DCS class. Afterwards, my shifts were easy because now we are collecting data only with cosmic runs. Data taking with cosmic runs is also important before the restart of LHC, as it helps us locate detector related problems and rectify them. It also facilitates the calibrations and testing of the software system. I learned a lot and I am sure that LHC data taking will be much more interesting. I love the way people interact at ACR and often help you fix problems that usually don’t make any sense to you as a newcomer. The best part is that even at ungodly hours, the experts are always available to guide you through the process of detector control, trigger and acquisition. In DQM (Data Quality Monitoring) shifts you actually see the outcome of your detector response via histograms. Basically, as these are Physics/Technical runs, by understanding those monitoring plots you can see whether everything works properly or not. DQM shifts were equally interesting. In short, my working experience at the ALICE Control Room was wonderful. ACR is well designed and beautiful and working with people from all around the world is an education by itself. I look forward to doing more shifts in future as well.