by Jan Maria Pluta. Published: 19 February 2013

Wiktor Peryt

Wiktor Peryt, nuclear physicist and Team-Leader of the groups at Warsaw University of Technology (WUT) in NA49 and NA61 experiments at CERN, deputy team leader of the WUT group in ALICE, passed away on 15 January 2013.

Graduated at Warsaw University in 1968 with the specialization in nuclear physics, most of the professional life of Wiktor Peryt was devoted to experiments in heavy-ion physics. The history of his work is closely related to the history of nuclear physics at WUT, as he was among the pioneers introducing and developing heavy-ion physics at the Institute of Physics of WUT. The starting point 40 years ago was the analysis of pictures from the xenon bubble chamber irradiated at ITEP in Moscow by the pion beam at 3.5 GeV/c. Working next at the Joint Institute for Nuclear Research (JINR) in Dubna, he has chosen as subject of his PhD thesis the quantitative comparison of experimental results from bubble chamber with the theoretical prediction of nuclear cascade model developed in Dubna. By “putting” the theoretical model data into the experimental environment of bubble chambers, he has revealed a few new features of the reactions studied and refuted some myths coming from the earlier qualitative analysis. As a by-product he has developed useful computer methods for data analysis.

Working at WUT with students Wiktor Peryt has introduced the computer methods to the practice of student laboratories, changing the students time, devoted for arithmetic calculations and manual graphics, by the true physics analysis of data. This activity led him later to organize the first national conference “Microcomputer in Physics Teaching”, held at WUT in 1987. He also pioneered the introduction of elements of CAMAC and VME systems in the teaching program at WUT, the organization of the student association “CAMAC” where students learned how to use the modularized electronics and international standards of data handling systems interfaced to a computer, for the purpose of physics experiments and industrial technologies.

Meeting DCDB group at Warsaw University of Technology

Thanks to his personal contacts the group at WUT joined the STAR experiment at BNL participating in the R & D of silicon technology for the Silicon Vertex Tracker (SVT) of the STAR detector. Now the Warsaw group continues its collaboration with STAR participating to the Beam Energy Scan program.

Wiktor Peryt has introduced the Warsaw University of Technology group to the NA49 and NA61/SHINE experiments at CERN. Under his leadership the group at WUT participated in all the phases of the NA61/SHINE experiment, starting from the preparation of the project called at that time “NA49 future”. He was leading the works with almost the complete replacement of the old detector control system, implementing the new one based on the EPICS (Experimental Physics and Industrial Control System) and keeping the maintenance and operation of the NA61 detector control system (DCS) up to now.

Wiktor Peryt attracted to NA61/SHINE many talented students, who have greatly contributed to software, detector and physics of the experiment. Moreover he organized numerous meetings of NA49 and NA61/SHINE collaborations in the Warsaw University of Technology which were as very productive and pleasant events.

During the ALICE-week in Colmar

The participation of Wiktor Peryt in the ALICE experiment was related to the construction and operation of detector systems, in particular the Inner Tracking System (ITS) and the trigger detector T0. His main task and responsibility in ALICE was however the design and implementation of the Detector Construction Data-Base (DCDB). For this task he has mobilized a large number of students from several faculties at WUT. It was a large challenge and effort for him and for young people to lead to the success of this project.

Recently Wiktor Peryt has reactivated the participation of WUT at the JINR experiments in Dubna. Using the experience from CERN, he started the works of WUT group in the DCDB project and DCS systems for the experimental complex NICA/MPD at the Laboratory of High Energy Physics of JINR.

In parallel he was involved in the new education program of WUT, by leading the project supported by the European Union "Modification of education at the Faculty of Physics WUT on the application of nuclear methods and technologies in the national economy”. In the frame of this project he has closely cooperated with many nuclear institutions in Poland and abroad.

After the common lunch of DCDB group at CERN

As a cooperator, colleague and teacher Wiktor Peryt was rather restrained and far from making publicity of his activity and results. It was therefore sometime astonishing that he was able to attract a lot of young people to cooperate with him. Maybe, to understand this phenomena, one can recall his poetic phrase on the role of electronics in physics experiments -“the grey roots of beautiful flowers” – not visible but leading to spectacular results. Now, after his departure, we see also him as that “grey roots…”, - not advertising himself but giving young people the possibilities of interesting work and quick career. His role in ALICE experiment was well expressed by the ALICE spokesperson Paolo Giubellino in the mail to the Collaboration to announce the sad news: “He has been a great collaborator and a delightful person, with whom we shared many years of work in ALICE, in the ITS, in the T0 and, most important, as leader of the DCDB project. He was particularly remarkable in bringing to ALICE numerous excellent young people, whom he guided to grow and become excellent scientists and engineers. His untimely departure is a very big loss for ALICE and for our whole community, we will all miss him.”

The old electronics of NA49 exepriment - how to bring it back to life?