Physicist wins prestigious prize for work at CERN

Issued: Mon, 12 Apr 2010 16:05:00 BST

Experimental particle physicist Dr Chris Parkes has received a prestigious prize for his work at the European Organisation for Nuclear Research (CERN).

Dr Parkes was awarded the Institute of Physics High Energy Particle Physics Group prize in recognition of his wide-ranging software, hardware and analysis achievements in particle physics.

He has been involved in a number of experiments being conducted at CERN, including DELPHI (Detector for Lepton, Photon and Hadron Identification) which operated in the Large Electron Positron (LEP) collider, now the Large Hadron Collider (LHC), and as leader of the LHC ‘beauty experiment’ (LHCb) Vertex Locator (VELO) software group, writing the first code through to the final commissioning of the software.

Dr Parkes will be the LHCb VELO project leader at CERN from June 2010. The VELO is the detector closest to the collisions at the LHC and its role is to observe short-lived particles containing beauty quarks, called B-mesons.

Dr Parkes said: “My main research activity involves studying the difference in behaviour between matter and anti-matter in the decays of B-mesons, and to develop detectors to make this study possible. These B-meson studies allow a search for physics beyond the Standard Model to be performed. It’s a great honour to have received this award, and it is a testament to all the work being performed by my colleagues on the LHC experiments in the Glasgow group”

His achievements include: measuring the mass of the W Boson particle which is responsible for nuclear beta-decay; and leading the LHCb VELO software team that reconstructed the first particle tracks at the LHC.

The announcement was made to Dr Parkes while he was in the LHCb experiment control room at CERN on the day the LHC collided proton beams at the highest energies ever reached (seven Tera electron-volts).

For more information about Dr Parkes work click here.

For more information contact Stuart Forsyth in the University of Glasgow Media Relations Office on 0141 330 4831 or email

<< April