Five outstanding students win ATLAS Thesis Awards

Thesis Committee Chair Craig Buttar, ATLAS Thesis Award winners Teng-Jian Khoo, Christopher Meyer, Kristof Schmieden, and Julien Maurer, ATLAS spokesperson Dave Charlton, and ATLAS Collaboration Board Chair Howard Gordon (Image: Claudia Marcelloni/CERN)

At a ceremony last week 5 graduate students were presented with ATLAS Thesis Awards. John Alison, Julien Maurer, Teng-Jian Khoo, Kristof Schmeiden, and Christopher Meyer each received a certificate and a glass model of the ATLAS detector from spokesperson Dave Charlton and Thesis Committee Chair Craig Buttar to mark their work.

The ATLAS Thesis Awards, started in 2010, recognize young postdoctoral candidates who have contributed to the experiment in all areas, in the context of a PhD thesis. A committee judges candidates on their work in all areas of ATLAS. The thesis nominations have increased steadily over the years with 19 in 2010, 21 in 2011, 29 in 2012, and 35 in 2013. Around 1000 physics PhD students work on ATLAS, contributing to the many aspects of its operation.

"I’ve always found receptive people, who would encourage and motivate me," says Maurer, who completed his PhD with Aix-Marseille University in France. "This may be mandatory for an experiment as complex as ATLAS to work, but it is also valuable to newcomers, especially PhD students." Maurer has started his postdoc at IFIN-HH in Bucharest, Romania.

John Alison, a University of Pennsylvania graduate currently with University of Chicago, has also started his postdoc. He says he was lucky to have the opportunity to work with expert physicists from the start of ATLAS construction to the first interesting physics

The winners agree that their much of their success is thanks to the groups they worked with. Teng-Jian Khoo of the University of Cambridge says the groups he worked in showed a genuine spirit of cooperation and a commitment to advancing knowledge, despite the challenges of working within a huge collaboration. Kristof Schmieden, of the University of Bonn in Germany, agrees. "Working in small groups was very rewarding, especially on detector-related subjects," he says. "For one measurement, I worked in a small analysis team with only six people. It was efficient, uncomplicated, and fun."

All five of this year’s winners, say that they are looking forward to the next LHC run.

Read the winning theses

Alison: "The road to discovery: Detector alignment, electron identification, particle misidentification, WW physics, and the discovery of the Higgs boson"

Khoo: "The hunting of the squark: Experimental strategies in the search for supersymmetry at the Large Hadron Collider"

Maurer: (In French) "Measurement of electron reconstruction performance and search for supersymmetry in final states with two same sign leptons in ATLAS detector data"

Meyer: "Measurement of dijet cross sections in proton-proton collisions at 7 TeV center-of-mass energy using the ATLAS detector"

Schmieden: "Measurement of the weak mixing angle and the spin of the gluon from angular distributions in the reaction pp-->Z/γ* --> μ+μ- +X with ATLAS"