Prize for Glasgow student's work at CERN

Published: 23 June 2009

A Scottish University Physics Alliance PhD student has won the 2009 John G Rutherglen Prize for his work on the LHCb experiment at Cern in Switzerland.

Marco Gersabeck, a Scottish University Physics Alliance (SUPA) PhD student at the University of Glasgow has been awarded the 2009 John G Rutherglen Prize.

Marco won the prize for his work on the LHCb experiment, including being part of the Glasgow University team that reconstructed the first tracks at the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) last August. The LHC is the 27km long particle physics accelerator near Geneva.

Professor Tony Doyle, chair of the panel of judges said: “Marco is a worthy winner of the prize. He has made important contributions to the LHCb experiment that may ultimately contribute to the discovery of new physics at the LHC.”  veloteam

The Glasgow team is also celebrating repeating their feat by seeing the first LHC beam of 2009. In preparation for the start of the Large Hadron Collider in 2009, the Glasgow LHCb team (with their collaborators from Liverpool, Amsterdam and CERN) reconstructed over 60,000 tracks on the 6 and 7 June. Dr Silvia Borghi, the researcher at the University of Glasgow who leads the alignment of the LHCb Vertex Locator, will be reporting the first results at a meeting on 18 June.  Dr Borghi said: “I’ve managed to align the detector to an accuracy of 10 millionths of a metre using the new tracks”.

Dr Chris Parkes, the UK VELO Project Leader and Marco's supervisor, said: “This prize and these great results are a testament to the hard work that has been put in by all the scientists in the team. This bodes well for the future operation of the experiment to explore the differences in behaviour of matter and anti-matter.”
UK scientists from the Universities of Glasgow and Liverpool have a major involvement with the LHCb Vertex Locator. The individual modules were designed and assembled in the UK. The reconstruction software used to observe these tracks was written by UK scientists. Nikhef  provided the mechanics, cooling and vacuum system.  Other collaborators are University of Manchester, University of Warwick, University of Oxford, EPFL Lausanne, CERN, Syracuse University, Moscow State University, University College Dublin.

The John G Rutherglen Prize is awarded annually for outstanding work in experimental High Energy Physics by a postgraduate student at one of the Universities associated with the Daresbury Laboratory High Energy Physics programme. The Universities involved are Glasgow, Lancaster, Liverpool, Manchester and Sheffield.

Like all the detector experiments at CERN a worldwide team of scientists are involved in the design and construction of the LHCb experiment. The experiment involves over 600 scientists from nearly 50 institutes and universities in 15 countries. UK collaborators make up around 20% of this.

The first glimpse of the LHC beam in 2009 is also covered on the CERN website.

The LHCb group at the University of Glasgow consists of: Mr Michael Alexander, Dr Alison Bates, Dr Silvia Borghi, Mr Laurence Carson, Mr Fred Doherty, Dr Lars Eklund, Ms Marianna Fontana, Mr Marco Gersabeck, Dr Vava Gligorov, Ms Fiona McEwan, Mr John J. Melone, Dr Chris Parkes, Dr Andrew Pickford, Mr. Barinjaka Rakotomiaramanana, Dr Eduardo Rodrigues, Dr Paul Soler, Dr Tomasz Szumlak.

Further information:
Dr Chris Parkes, Lead LHCb VELO scientist at the University of Glasgow

PICTURE: VELO group members celebrate reconstructing the first particles of 2009. The picture includes five members of the Glasgow LHCb group.

First published: 23 June 2009

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