Experimental Particle Physics

Experimental Particle Physics

Samya Zain, Ph.D., leads the experimental particle physics effort at Susquehanna.  She is a member of the ATLAS collaboration at Large Hadron collider (LHC) at the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) and has been involved with the physics analysis when at CERN,  and now though the Worldwide LHC Computing Grid.

The LHC at CERN is located between the Swiss French boarder just outside Genvea, Switzerland. LHC is built in a circular tunnel 27 km in circumference, buried underground around 50 to 175 m. The LHC is designed to collide two counter rotating beams of protons at energy of 7 TeV per beam. LHC is home to six particle physics detectors, located in large caverns at the intersection points. The A Toroidal LHC Apparatus (ATLAS) detector and the Compact Muon Solenoid (CMS), are general purpose particle detectors. A Large Ion Collider Experiment (ALICE) and LHCb have more specific roles and the last two detectors TOTEM and LHCf are small and are for very specialized physics research. With the LHC the aim is to continue to push our understanding of the fundamental structure of the universe. The results from the LHC are expected to shed light on topics like, dark energy, dark matter, extra dimensions, Higgs and Supersymmetry.

The Worldwide LHC Computing Grid (WLCG) is a global collaboration of more than 140 computing centers in 33 countries. The mission of the WLCG project is to build and maintain data storage and analysis infrastructure for the entire high energy physics community that will use the LHC. The WLCG service is available to all members of the LHC experiment collaborations. In addition, through the Enabling Grids for E-sciencE (EGEE), Open Science Grid (OSG) and other grid projects, many other applications and their user communities can make use of the grid infrastructure. 

The Open Science Grid is used as the primary infrastructure in the United States. The particle physics research group at Susquehanna University is in the process of setting up an Open Science Grid Cluster, which at present consists of approximately 40 CPU cores and 24 Terabytes of data storage. Our super cluster provides Grid infrastructure support for the ATLAS particle physics research by simulating how particles travel in the accelerator. With this information, our team and others at CERN and around the world will be able to determine detector specifications and efficiencies of detecting particles that will help to calibrate the detector parameters to optimize results from the experiments.

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