Working on the ALICE ITS upgrade.

Qurat ul ain

I am a student of MS Physics from COMSATS Institute of Information Technology, Islamabad, Pakistan, and have been privileged to visit CERN as a summer student this year. 

CERN fascinated me since the moment I heard about it. The idea of huge tunnels 100 meters under ground, accelerating particles near the speed of light and keeping the magnets at such low temperature was all like fantasy to me. But when I arrived at CERN, it did not take me long to realize that I am at one of the best places for discoveries. The alleys named after great Nobel laureates remind me of their hard work and dedication for the progress of science.

Summer lectures were really an extraordinary experience for me. The experts from various fields described their respective subjects in a manner that was unforgettable. Being a theoretical physicist, I not only learned about my field but about many other areas including detectors and computing. The lectures from computing side were very interesting; I particularly enjoyed a lecture “From Raw Data to Physics results” where I came to know the different steps used to get physics results from collision data.

The summer student programme provided an opportunity to do research with world's renowned scientists. I was assigned to a group working on ALICE ITS upgrade. Though I did not have much background on analysis still I learned a lot under the supervision of Paolo Martinengo and Cristina Bedda who were always there to correct my mistakes.

Our group is working for the characterization of silicon pixel sensors. Lots of prototypes are developed like pAlpide 1 and pAlpide 2. My project was to investigate the Circular Clusters observed in pAlpide- 2 chips. Circular Clusters are empty core clusters with central pixels under threshold. I used EUTELESCOPE and Root for analysis of test beam data from pAlpide-2 and to make a comparison between old pAlpide-1 and new pAlpide-2 data. EUTELESCOPE is the software developed to analyze data from test beam activities and reconstruct clusters and tracks in different sensors. It was so interesting that even though I am done with my project still I would love to continue working on it.

Workshops and visits to labs were also part of this summer school. Among these, I particularly enjoyed the visit to SM 18 which is a facility for testing magnets at very low temperatures and high currents. Anti-gravity lab was one of the most amazing places I visited. Apart from the technical side, CERN provides a very good social atmosphere where we meet people from all around the world. There are so many clubs for recreational activities which really freshen up one's mind.

Some memories are cherished for a lifetime and this was my most favorite memory. Among busy lectures and project assignments, I still managed to visit famous places, to go hiking, to festivals, and to pay visits to mesmerizing Europe with my new friends. In short, this fulfilled my dreams. I would love to come again to CERN for my PhD research and play my part in this field of science. 

Alice Matters