by Iva Raynova. Published: 30 June 2016

Julien is a PhD student at the University of Strasbourg, studying the topological reconstruction of D+ and Ds mesons. He has a Master degree in subatomic and astroparticle physics from the same university.

Interested both in astrophysics and in particle physics since he was a teenager, at one point Julien had to make a choice about his studies. “In the beginning of my Masters, a visit at CERN was organised by my university. The first experiment we went to was ALICE and I remember how fast my heart was beating while we were in the elevator, going underground. The physicist guiding the visit explained to us things about the state of matter of the very early universe and how they reproduce it with heavy-ion collisions. I was quite impressed. At this moment I took the decision that I want to study particle physics. Right there, in front of the detector.”

Julien joined the ALICE at team at his university in March 2015, at the end of his Masters, and started doing analysis on open charm quark. “It was very interesting, because this group was specialised in strange quark and they wanted to move to charm quark analysis. We went through this change together. It is tough when we encounter a very specific problem, but we work together, we exchange ideas and in the end we make it work.”

In the summer of 2015, after obtaining his Master degree, Julien was selected to be a CERN summer student and he continued his analysis in ALICE. In the meantime he started preparing his application for financial support in order to become a PhD student. ”The Strasbourg ALICE group was interested to have me as their PhD student and I was interested to have them as my supervisors. They helped me with the application, I presented my PhD project and the work I had previously done in front of physicists. They gave me the financial support and I could immediately start working on my thesis.”  

Julien dedicates his free time to music and sports. He has been playing the drums for roughly ten years. “In my family, we all love music and we all play different instruments. My father plays the bass guitar, my brother plays the guitar. There was nobody playing drums and I started learning, so that we could be complete. We have a family band now. We perform together some rock and blues, but just in front of our friends.”