CERN Accelerating science

A word from the Deputy Head of the EP department - September 2018

by Christian Joram

Welcome to the autumn issue of the EP newsletter!

It has been a busy and exciting summer with a wealth of new results presented by the LHC experiments at international conferences. The first observation of Higgs boson coupling with top and bottom quarks reported by both ATLAS and CMS is yet another remarkable confirmation of the Standard Model of particle physics, but also marks an important step forward in our understanding of the origin of mass. While benefiting from the exceptional performance of the LHC, these latest results utilised new improved analysis techniques and machine learning algorithms - about which you read in our previous issue.

Progress in particle physics often relies on breakthroughs in instrumentation. This is one of the motivations for the new R&D initiative of the EP department on new Detector Technologies. After the very successful workshop in March this year (reported on in the spring issue), the definition of the programme is now in its final phase. Eight working group have converged over the summer on the selection of the most relevant technologies in the fields of detectors, experimental magnets, electronics and software. The results of this intense process - detailed work plans and resource estimates - will be presented to the community in a public event on the 25th of September.   

Two related efforts, covered in this issue, concern the design of the VELOpix chip for LHCb and new readout chips for the CMS detector to cope with the challenges of HL-LHC. You can also read about the ROOT user’s workshop discussing the challenges and future shape of this comprehensive analysis software framework, to meet the requirements of the particle and nuclear physics community. As has now become a tradition, we have also prepared an interactive world map reflecting the diversity of cultures, regions and topics that characterise the CERN summer students’ programme. 

Finally, this edition features a special focus on axion searches and CERN's active role in this field. Theorised in the '70s by Wilczek  and Weinberg, the axion could solve the strong CP problem while certain classes could also account for dark matter. We talked to the key protagonists, Helen Quinn, Roberto Peccei and Pierre Sikivie, and present the different approaches followed by  experiments at CERN to search for this elusive particle. 

I hope that you will enjoy reading the new issue.

Christian Joram,