Over the past couple of weeks, I've worked really hard trying to soak up as much information as I can and make the most out of this experience. It has been said that CERN was build next to the mountains so that it's physicists could unwind there. In order to test this, I went with some friends to the Albert 1er hut above Chamonix over the weekend. Here are some pictures from our adventure:
The LHC began collisions on the 23rd of May and I was in the ATLAS control room when they started. This is really exciting because the LHC has not collided protons for several months during an upgrade period. Hopefully with an upgraded machine we will be able to find hints at new physics!
I built a jet clustering algorithm based on the anti-kt model used in professional analyses here at CERN. Mine is, of course, more rudimentary but was still quite fun to make. The histogram attached here shows the distribution of the algorithm's results for number of jets. The input was 10,000 events from the MC jet program I built earlier with two jets sent in opposite directions. The histogram clearly shows a peak at 2, which implies that the algorithm is working.
Today and yesterday I have been working on a toy model of a parton jet. These jets are one of the most common structures that result from collisions at the LHC here at CERN. These jets form when quarks and gluons are separated by high energy collisions. Because these particles are held so tightly together, the amount of energy required to separate them is enough to actually form new particles to join up again. The model I made uses Monte Carlo, a computational technique used to model systems with inherent randomness. This is especially useful in quantum systems due to their probabilistic nature. The picture here is an output from the model I made. The guide I used for this project can be found here:
Today I got to lean about various decay structures of W and Z bosons and how they show up in the ATLAS detector at CERN. This image shows a ZZ decaying into a muon/antimuon pair and an electron/antielectron pair. The muons pass all the way through the detector and are colored orange here while the electrons are seen through the large energy deposits (yellow blobs) left in the electromagnetic calorimeter (green). In the second picture a filter is applied to get rid of lower energy particles that could have been from earlier collisions or glancing blows. This makes the paths the particles take in the detector much more obvious. If you want to download and play with the software yourself, check out these links: