Katie, our other 2nd year student from the University of Portsmouth, studies Astrophysics and Cosmology. She has a general interest in anything academic physics related (including particle physics of course) and hopes to do a PhD in the future.
Her work involved writing software that runs test programs. Or, in other words, she helped build some software, that runs other software to test modules that will go into the inner tracker of ATLAS. And as difficult as this was to word, the smile on her face as she talked about it indicated she enjoyed it. The modules hold sensors for detecting particle passing through as a result of a collision, which are being glued onto the endcap and need testing at multiple stages. The module is tested by running a charge through a pixel of the sensor to replicate a particle and then analysing if this is picked up by the module. The problem is this needed to be done on around 1300 modules. Katie's work provided a much more efficient process for this, saving hours of time and the automated process was much more consistent than human work.
She said the 8 weeks helped her realise the importance of the more physical side of the experiment, improved her understanding of how projects come together while gaining experience in worldwide collaboration. As with others she presented her work to the relevant (international) community and appreciated the opportunity to present her own original work. Moving forward into her third year she says she has now created a link between the lecture content and real life applications, which I'm sure will be very useful.
Supervisor: Ben Smart
If you're interested in joining us as a summer student please click here to find out how to apply and more.