Spending just half an hour with Lipy is not enough to discover much about her life. She is quiet and very reserved. Maybe she was nervous at the time. Her quietness certainly made me nervous. We met briefly in the point 2 coffee room while she was at ALICE for a week conducting maintenance on the Muon Tracking System. Lipy is an electronics technician for the Saha Institute of Nuclear Physics in Calcutta, India.
Lipy joined Saha Institute last decade and was appointed to the Muon Tracking Project. She was responsible for designing the prototype of the di-muon spectrometer. “We came to ALICE in 2003/2004 for the test beam and then started the actual production of the system in 2005/2006,” Lipy explains.
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At this point Sukalyan Chattopadhyay, her team leader, chips in to the conversation, “Lipy is our main electronics technician. She designed all the electronics parts, like the readout electronics and low voltage parts and so on. From her, and other peoples, designs we built 8 muon tracking detectors.” Lipy adds, “And also 2 spare chambers. After that we came to ALICE to install and commission the detectors.” Now Lipy and her colleagues come back for periodic maintenance. Although Lipy is specifically responsible for the electronics maintenance Sukalyan is keen to explain that when there is an issue to be dealt with everyone in the group pitches in to help.
Lipy’s main task during this shutdown was to help solve the issues with low voltage connections in the Muon Tracking Chambers. Sukalyan explains, “We have about 250,000 channels to read, and for every channel there are 3 solders. That means there are close to 1 million solders for Lipy to tackle.”
Soldering connections is a frequent and routine job for Lipy. She and another technician from the group soldered all the connectors of the muon chambers when they were first built. Lipy also soldered thousands of 20 micron thick anode wires in the chambers. “When we come for maintenance Lipy is the one who re-solders any broken wires and gets the high-voltage validation for the chamber again. This is a major responsibility for her,” Sukalyan says proudly.
Lipy is from Calcutta in the Bengali region of India close to the border with Bangladesh. “Calcutta is the best place for me. People are very friendly and there is a lot to see and know about the area.” At this time of year the temperature ranges from 15 – 20oC, so it is a big jump to come here with temperatures that are everyday below freezing. However, Lipy seems cautiously excited and smiles as she talks about exploring the area. “I’ve been to Annecy and to some ski stations in the Jura. Once I went to ski.” She smiles more broadly at this and laughs. “It was not bad but I need to practice. It’s a new experience.” Calcutta doesn’t ever get snow.
Apart from these local adventures, Lipy talks about her enjoyment of trekking, photography, and listening to Indian classical music. “I like to photograph nature, mostly birds. I have travelled many places for bird watching in India because my husband also loves to travel a lot. He loves hills, so many of the places we go are hilly, like Darjeeling.” I comment that bird watching in India must be spectacular. “Yes, yes, there are many birds and everything is colourful.” However, Lipy also takes photographic portraits of babies and children.
Back in India Lipy has a 2 year old baby. Although Lipy is only here for a week she explains that, “It’s hard to leave my baby. Last time I was here for 3 weeks and that was a very hard time. Thank god my husband is in India with her. I love working here at ALICE but I will be happy to go back to India.”
When Lipy gets back she will be straight in the lab at the Institute. She will start working on modifications for the muon project and other ALICE programmes. “My main responsibility will be testing and designing in the lab. I will also work with another faculty member on a detector. I will help her to design it.”
However, her final comments relate her positive experience at ALICE. “I love to work here because people are so cooperative and helpful. Any problem will be dealt with promptly. So many people respect each other and I like that approach in people here.”