Photo:

Deepak Kar

About time then!

Favourite Thing: Do something none has ever done, look at something none has ever seen, think about something none has ever thought – even though at the end they may turn out to be trivial!

My CV

Education:

University of Florida, 2003-2008.

Qualifications:

Ph.D in Physics

Work History:

Dresden, Germany and CERN, Geneva.

Current Job:

Postdoctoral Research Associate

Employer:

University of Glasgow

Me and my work

I use the data from the largest “science” machine ever built to learn about the tiniest of the particles!

The Large Hadron Collider (LHC) at CERN, Geneva smashes very high energy particles and tries to find the answer to answer “to the ultimate question of life, the universe, and everything”. Well almost – we want to create the condition which existed at the beginning of the universe, and learn what are the smallest building blocks of the nature.  Now after each collision, hundreds of thousands of particles come out, so our task is to find out what exactly happened in that collision, shifting through all that information. This is essentially like trying to find broken pieces of a needle in the haystack!

My Typical Day

No two days are the same, but usually involves some coding, meetings and lots of emailing!

The best part about doing science is often we get to set our own schedule, and the work is hardly boring. However, since I am a part of 3000+ people strong collaboration working at the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) at Geneva, and the collaborators are from all over the world, the work rarely stops, and working remotely with a collaborator from USA during our late evenings are more than common. To know what happens each each collision at the LHC, we need to use write computer programs and that takes a lot of my time. I am also responsible for making sure that the postgraduate students in our group are making progress, so I spend a bit of time talking with them. These are interspersed with reading papers, thinking about the results I am getting, and talking to the collaborators at CERN and beyond, via emails, videoconferences or skype.

 

What I'd do with the money

Build an open source repository of computer programs helpful to teach physics

A website with open source physics programs, specially the ones which helps school children to visualise physics concepts can be very helpful. I plan to use to money to hold a contest among undergraduate physics students to come with such programs/apps, and also to find publicly available ones.

My Interview

How would you describe yourself in 3 words?

Passionate, adventurous, open-minded

Who is your favourite singer or band?

Joan Baez

What's your favourite food?

A juicy steak!

What is the most fun thing you've done?

Co-piloted a small plane for an hour (with the instructor sitting beside ;)

What did you want to be after you left school?

A physicist!

Were you ever in trouble in at school?

What is trouble?

What was your favourite subject at school?

History (apart from science and maths, of course)

What's the best thing you've done as a scientist?

Joined the LHC just before the Higgs-boson was discovered (and actually had a minor contribution to it as well!)

What or who inspired you to become a scientist?

My dad, and a biography of Richard Feynman.

If you weren't a scientist, what would you be?

A train driver, perhaps?

If you had 3 wishes for yourself what would they be? - be honest!

Travel around the world, taste different cuisines and try out the Google Glass for free!

Tell us a joke.

Did you hear about the man who got hit by protons while trying to steal from the underground vaults of a Swiss bank in Geneva?

Other stuff

Work photos:

All the pictures (except the ones I am in) are taken by me.

myimage1 The life-size drawing of the ATLAS detector at CERN on the wall of the building which houses the detector. Science meets art.

myimage2 An old picture from 2007, the ATLAS detector being built, piece-by piece. Science in an industrial scale.

myimage3 A cross sectional view of the detector. The particles travel through the middle of the detector and collide at the centre point.

myimage4 The mandatory pose. Note the hardhat.

myimage5 The ATLAS control room – where physicists sit all day (and night) to make sure the experiment is running fine.

myimage6 The entry to the detector underground is strictly controlled, even with an eye -scanner. Da Vinci Code, anyone?

myimage7 Underground tunnels at CERN. It is really a maze, and they even shot a Zombie movie here!

myimage8 The world wide web was created at CERN, to let physicists communicate with each other about their work in real time.

myimage9 A nice sculpture at CERN.

myimage10 This is not strictly related to my work, but I was fortunate to view the launch of the space shuttle Discovery from Cape Canaveral, Florida. It made me realise all over again that light indeed travels faster than sound – we first saw the night sky light up, and the boom came seconds later.