Focus on: Dhruv Dixit

Iva Raynova

Dhruv chose ALICE as his companion for his journey through particle physics. The force is strong with him and he knows that sarcasm is just one way to mask reality's harsh truth.

Dhruv joined the ALICE team in January 2016 as an intern, after he was accepted for the “Semester abroad at CERN” programme, offered by the University of Michigan, USA. In the beginning he studied the ALICE framework and then he started his training for different shifts, including for the Electromagnetic Calorimeter (EMCal) on-call shift. He has also done some analysis for the EMCal. Right now he is working on the Di-Jet Calorimeter (DCal) analysis and quality assurance of the 5 TeV proton-proton collision data. Dhruv will stay with the collaboration for the next five years, while he is doing his PhD on photon-jet correlations in ALICE. He will follow his PhD in the University of California, Berkeley, USA.

Initially Dhruv liked chemistry. “In my final year of high school I realised that what I found most interesting in my chemistry courses were things like fission, decay, the photoelectric effect. After discussing that with my teachers, we decided that physics would be a better fit for me. So I applied in the Stony Brook University, mainly because they have a very good research programme.”

During the last summer he spent three months at PHENIX, an experiment at the Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider (RHIC). ”I worked on a detector, called MPC-EX. It is a detector they recently installed to improve their pion reconstruction range. I was helping with building it and commissioning it.” 2015 was a great year for Dhruv for one more reason – he won the Goldwater scholarship, the highest award given in the USA for undergraduate research.

This is Dhruv's first time in Europe and it is a new experience for him. What he likes most about CERN are all the different people he gets to meet. “It's so multicultural and multinational, it's great with all these people speaking in different languages. Plus, I learned French a while ago, so now I have the opportunity to practice it.”

Dhruv loves outreach. “I prefer in-person communication. I like participating in physics days, where we have high school students coming to our institute and we show them experiments with liquid nitrogen for example. In my undergraduate institute, there is a club called the Society of Physics Students and we would do such outreach programmes.” He also likes the idea of turning high school students in scientists for a day with the international masterclasses and he is determined to make his University a host institute.

His free time Dhruv prefers to spend in reading books or doing sports like swimming, running or hiking. “I really like satire and dark fantasy. Catch 22 is one of my favourite books. I also enjoy reading The Onion, an American satire website. I like it because it is saying things in a very mocking fashion. It is not supposed to be taken seriously, but there is always a grain of truth in their messages. And that is a bit scary, it is eye-opening.”

For his future Dhruv wishes to find a permanent position in the field of high-energy physics. “Another thing I would like to do is the fellowship offered by the American Physical Society. It is a one-year fellowship, which allows physicists to be scientific resource for the members of the US Congress.


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