by Iva Raynova. Published: 31 August 2016

Alexander works at the Institute for Nuclear Research of the Russian Academy of Sciences. His journey in ALICE began when he joined the Moscow group, working on the development of the T0 detector.

Working at CERN is a tradition in Alexander’s family. “My grandfather, my father, and now me – we all work in the field of high-energy physics. My grandfather always talked to me about physics when I was a child, he explained to me the structure of the universe. I remember asking him about quark matter.”

When the time came to choose his studies, Alexander was hesitating between programming and physics. “Finally, I chose something in between and I enrolled at the Faculty of Automatics and Electronics of the Moscow Engineering Physical Institute. There I studied both programming and physics.”

After graduating, Alexander joined the Institute for Nuclear Research, where he did his PhD on the design of the Detector Control System (DCS) for the T0 detector. He successfully defended his thesis in March 2015. “With the education I have, joining the DCS team and working on the system was easy and enjoyable. The T0 detector is not so big, we only have 24 photomultipliers. I developed the panels and the control scripts which control each channel. Then I wrote the software which reads the data from the electronic models, developed at our institute. It was a big project, but when you start with a small task and keep building up, eventually you get it done. We are now working on the upgrade of the T0 and we are preparing new modules, for which I am already adding new software.”

Except for the control system of the T0 detector, Alexander is also developing software for the central Detector Control System. One of his main tasks was to rewrite the handshake message exchange for ALICE.

Another very important role Alexander has had for the past three years is that of the ALICE BBQ coordinator. “ALICE is a big part of my life. I spend a lot of time here, at Point 2, and I know most of the people working in the control centre. We organise BBQs once per month, when the weather allows it. I believe that really helps to lift the team spirit and to boost the social life at Point 2.”

Whenever he has free time, Alexander spends it in the mountains – snowboarding in the winter, hiking in the summer. His first experience with a snowboard he had in Moscow. “There was a very small hill where I could try. A friend of mine gave me his board, but I had no suit and no shoes for snowboarding. However, I was still able to balance and to stay on it. I knew that with the right equipment it would be even easier, so I bought everything I needed and I started learning.” He also likes to play with Arduino, a small control board. “You can do home automation with it very easily. It allows you to program 12 input-outputs. Then you can do some organizing, like checking the temperature in your room or the humidity. You can turn on the heating or the air conditioning. I can experiment with it, it is fun and it is not difficult at all.”