by Iva Raynova. Published: 28 February 2016

Winner of the ALICE Best Thesis award for 2015

Andrea has been a part of the ALICE group in Padova, Italy, for the past four years. Three of them he spent in doing analysis for his PhD, the results of which were recently recognised by the collaboration as one of the most significant ones for the past year. “I was focused on heavy-flavour studies – charm, in particular. I studied the production of the D0 particle in lead-lead and proton-lead collisions. The topic of my thesis was chosen on the basis of the work that I did during my PhD. It was basically a summary of my activity.”

The good news came at a very special moment – it was Andrea’s birthday. “That was a very nice present – he says laughing. – I didn’t expect that I would be awarded for my thesis, but I am really proud. I worked a lot and in the end I was very satisfied, because I put my best in it.”

Currently Andrea is a postdoc in the same group in which he was working during his PhD and he is very happy about it: “This way I have the opportunity to deepen my knowledge. There are many people here from whom I learn a lot. One of them is my supervisor Dr. Andrea Dainese, to whom I am extremely grateful. Without him I wouldn’t have won the award.”

About working in ALICE, he says: “I’m really excited that I have the opportunity to work here. I spent one year at CERN during my PhD and it was very stimulating. I attended seminars, I met experts in the field of high-energy physics. Last year I got closer to the detector parts. I started learning about the silicon pixel detector (SPD), one of the three detectors of the inner tracking system (ITS). I even did some on-call shifts, which means that if there is a problem in that part of the detector during the data taking, I am the one who has to solve it.”

The decision to study physics Andrea made in high school. “During the final year we started studying modern physics. We didn’t study it in depth though, so there was an unsatisfied curiosity left in me. That is why I decided to study particle physics. This is still my favourite field, but I also like cosmology and everything related to the evolution of our universe. I like to read about gravity and black holes for example and I try to stay updated about the new discoveries in this field.”

His free time Andrea likes to spend reading books and comics and watching movies. He also has a newly discovered passion, which is to travel the world. “One of the good things about being a physicist is that you go to a lot of conferences and you have the possibility to visit new places. I started travelling for work and I greatly enjoyed it, so now I am making plans for visiting new destinations. Last year I went to the USA – New York, Washington and Philadelphia. This year I want to go to the other side of the world – to Asia.”