Mihaela has just finished her 3rd year of Physics with Particle Physics at the University of Birmingham and is now going into her masters year.
Her particular project was focussed on looking at displaced leptons in the future inner tracker (ITk) of ATLAS, an experiment that is part of the Large Hadron Collider at CERN. Proton-proton collisions within ATLAS result in new particles, some of which take longer to decay and so can make it far from the initial interaction vertex. These are known as long-lived particles; they have a different signature to particles that decay promptly and they can produce displaced leptons. The majority of searches for new physics at the LHC focus on particles with a shorter life, meaning Mihaela had to use customised techniques for reconstructing tracks and particle identification. Mihaela was building on the work done by a previous student; looking at efficient reconstruction of the paths of leptons using their trajectory through the outermost parts of the ITk.
Moving forward into her 4th year she feels at an advantage; having put ATLAS based projects as her top 3 choices for her master’s she’s very much ahead of the game, going in experienced with Athena (the software framework used in ATLAS). Mihaela praises her supervisors and the amount of time they gave and has now built a solid base in the field she wants to delve further into.
And by the sounds of things she won’t be stopping there either! Hoping to go on to a PhD she has learnt the art of working closely with a supervisor and has experience in collaboration within academia. A particularly notable experience was when she presented her summer’s work to experts in the field and answered questions on it, which to our surprise she did not describe as stressful at all. Instead she contrasted it against university work which has added pressure from always being graded and commented that in fact this was the perfect time to work on her presentation skills.