by Tiziano Virgili & Panos Charitos. Published: 23 July 2012

Tiziano Virgili, researcher in the University of Salerno is working with ALICE since 1994 and he has been in the “heavy ion” field since 1988. “At that time there weren't true "heavy" ions, we had only Sulphur and Oxygen beams at 200 GeV per nucleon. I was working then in the NA34-Helios experiment, together with many people now in ALICE”. Indeed NA34 was a hybrid experiment with silicon detectors and nuclear emulsions that was looking mostly for global observables. Tiziano is currently working on a textbook about strong interactions that could also be used as a good introduction to QCD and QGP.

In his free time, Tiziano has a very rare hobby, namely paper crafting. But what is papercrafting? As he explains to us: “Papercraft is a word to indicate a three-dimensional paper model. Today it is possible to find on the web papercrafts representing almost everything. Just to give an idea, you can have models of famous buildings, common objects, famous characters and much more”.

In the end it seems to be all about producing 3D real models of objects. One has to cut the different pieces of the papercraft, fold them and finally glue them in order to produce the final model. Papercrafts can be very schematic or on the contrary highly refined and in this case the assembly is much more difficult).

ALICE detection system

Tiziano notes that: “To produce a papercraft of “no geometrical” objects is highly nontrivial and special software must be used. Essentially each volume has to be reduced into more elementary small geometrical volume, just like in a detector simulation”. In the case of simple shapes, the unfolding can be done in different ways (just consider a simple cube). The different options are not equivalent from the point of view of the assembly, so some care has to be put in making the best choice.

The ALICE detector papercraft

Tiziano has recently produced a papercraft of the ALICE detection system. As a very first approximation the ALICE detector can be simplified into several elementary geometrical volumes. This of course means to neglect all the space frames and the details of each single detector. “The resulting model is very schematic, but I still hope that it could provide to the general public a global idea of the huge ALICE detector.” So if you have front view or side view (along the beam) pictures of the different detection systems (i.e. TOF,TRD,TPC,ITS, muon absorber, PHOS and EMCAL) and want to get involved please contact ALICE MATTERS


3D model of a real reconstructed PbPb collision

This is really nice!
Another method would be 3D printing, less challenging, but a finer granularity can be achieved. ;-)
Here an example: