by Virginia Greco. Published: 02 November 2016

Stefano Trogolo, Ph.D. student in ALICE, has been awarded the Klaus Kinder-Geiger Award for the best talk at the Hot Quarks Conference, held in Texas last September. He reported on "(Hyper-)nuclei and exotica production measured with ALICE at the LHC".

Stefano Trogolo during his talk at the “Hot Quarks Conference”

Stefano Trogolo, Ph.D. student in ALICE, is a very curious person and a profound lover of knowledge in general. Thanks to his physics teacher at High School, he became fond of this branch of science and decided to study Physics at the University of Turin, his hometown, first taking a Bachelor and then a Master’s Degree.

He entered in touch with ALICE when he was still an undergraduate student and decided to develop his research projects for both the Bachelor and the Master thesis in this experiment. A love that continues, since he is carrying on following this path. “I was surprised and immediately fascinated by the research pursued in ALICE: it is peculiar, since it is nuclear physics but studied in a high energy experiment,” Stefano comments, “I think it is fantastic that we can create and analyze in a laboratory the conditions of the early instants of life of the Universe.”

His passion is leading him to great results, such as being awarded a prize for the best talk at the Hot Quarks Conference, held in Texas last September. The Hot Quarks Conference gives the Klaus Kinder-Geiger Award to the best presentation at the conference. The prize is dedicated to the memory of Klaus who perished in the accident of the Swiss Air flight 111 from New York to Geneva in 1998.

Stefano presented the results on the production of nuclei, hypernuclei and exotic bound states in Pb-Pb collisions. These studies aim at understanding how these objects are generated from the Quark-Gluon Plasma. “I really like the definition of them that Peter Braun-Munzinger, Chairperson of the Collaboration Board, gave in a workshop,” Stefano explains, ”he said that they are like ‘snowballs in hell’, delicate objects that are emitted by plasma - which is very hot - when it cools down”.

In addition to the physics analysis, Stefano is involved in hardware activities on the detector, in particular in the development and commissioning of the new Inner Tracker (ITS). Building and assembling “almost bare-handed” such extremely precise apparatuses has its own appeal. Moreover, since a few months he is coordinating the activities of Quality Assurance (QA) of the physics working group on Light Flavour Spectra.

Sharing his interest in physics and engaging stimulating discussions with students is for Stefano as important as setting up experiments and analysing data. He finds these debates very inspiring and motivating to go in depth into the topics he studies. The academic life fits him perfectly, then, and getting a position at the University of Turin is something he is aiming for. Nevertheless, he recognizes that the environment of CERN is unique and enriching, so he is always glad to spend some weeks at the laboratory.

In his spare time, Stefano relaxes playing piano, which he studied when he was at school, reading and listening to classical or rock music. Mountain tracking around Turin with his girlfriend is also a perfect way to disconnect and recharge the batteries.