Summer Student Opportunities 2022

Summer Student Opportunities 2022

‌‌Students outside sitting beneath treesThe Particle Physics Experiment (PPE) group, in conjunction with the School of Physics & Astronomy, operates an annual summer student scheme for undergraduates to work on a research topic in experimental particle physics. This year we are pleased to once again be able to offer several such studentships.

 

 
 
 

Application Procedure

Eligibility: Please note that only students who are currently enrolled to study for a further year after the summer are eligible for funding (for example, students due to finish their third year, or students due to finish their fourth year but are already accepted to a 5-year MSci degree). Priority will be given to students who are passionate about experimental particle physics and feel they would like to continue with a PhD in this topic.

Requirement: Students who are accepted onto the Summer School programme must write a report at the end of their 6-week project, which provides an opportunity to further their communication skills.

Application: Applications should be sent by email to Michael Alexander with title “PPE summer project application”.

Your application must contain the following documents, with a naming convention of last name, first name, followed by the document type (using my name as an example):

AlexanderMichaelApplicationForm.xlsx = please fill out a copy of this form - please include your grades here in addition to the PDF requested below;

AlexanderMichaelStatement.pdf = a brief statement of research interest (why you want to do particle physics research) and any relevant prior experience; in addition, information on any presentations, posters or reports that you have written for any research or academic projects, which will help us to judge your scientific communication skills.

AlexanderMichaelGrades.pdf = a record of your grades obtained so far at university.

The deadline for applications is 11:59 pm on Saturday 12th March

Process: Applications will be ranked by merit. Using the matrix of ranked students/ranked preferred projects per students, students will be suggested to supervisors, who will look at the student applications and may then set up an informal meeting to see if the student has the skills and interest needed for that particular project. For this reason students are encouraged to contact the supervisors directly during this application time in order to learn more about the projects, so that they are well informed when choosing an ordered list of preferred projects.

Funding: The projects (formed by a pair of supervisor and student) will enter into competition for funding with other projects from other physics groups, the final decision resting with the Head of School. On average, 4-5 projects for the particle physics experimental (PPE) group are funded every year. Successful applicants will receive £300/week for the duration of the project.

Previous projects: Please see the list on the left for details of previous years’ summer student projects.

 
 

Project proposals

Project proposals

Searching for heavy flavour hexaquarks at LHCb

We are currently in a golden age for spectroscopy measurements that is being led by the Large Hadron Collider beauty (LHCb) experiment based at the LHC at CERN. The LHCb collaboration have observed a number of tetraquark and pentaquark candidates, which, as the names suggest, contain four and five quarks respectively. An interesting question is then: what about hexaquarks? Do they exist, and if so, can they be observed with the LHCb experiment? In this project you will analyse real LHCb data from LHC Run II to search for hexaquark candidates decaying to a pair of charm baryons and a pion. The key part of the project will be to remove background decays, such as random combinations of particles, to see hints of interesting processes hidden beneath them. 

Project type: Data analysis

Prerequisites: Experience with Linux and Python/C++ preferable but not essential

Preferred dates: TBC

Primary supervisor: Dr Mark Whitehead

Secondary supervisor: Dr Lucia Grillo

 

The next, best measurements to disprove the SM

There are a virtual infinity of ways in which reality could deviate from the Standard Model (SM) of particle physics and still be compatible with current measurements. One way to try and find evidence of such new-physics is to assume a model and try to make measurements in the places it most differs from the SM, but probably the initial assumption was wrong. An alternative approach is to make more generic measurements... but which ones should we try first? This project will build on work in the PPE and PPT group, using the Rivet, Contur, and TACO simulation and statistical toolkits, to propose which new measurements should be best at constraining a general beyond-SM model at the LHC.

Project type: Data analysis/simulation

Prerequisites: Python/C++ and Linux preferable

Preferred dates: May-July

Primary supervisor: Dr Andy Buckley

Secondary supervisor: TBC

 

Re-using artificial-intelligence physics measurements

Machine-learning or "artificial intelligence" (ML or AI) is a family of powerful, non-linear methods for squeezing extra performance out of a data analysis. But AI tools need to be trained on simulated data, and due to computing limitations they are most usually trained only on "nominal" simulated events, in which uncertainties in detector performance and physics models are ignored, and detector biases are baked in. This makes it hard to re-use stored AI methods on new hypotheses for which detector modelling is not available. In this project we will investigate the use of uncertainty and detector-bias information in training AIs, to improve the reinterpretability of LHC data analyses.

Project type: Data analysis

Prerequisites: C++ and Linux preferable but not essential

Preferred dates: May-July

Primary supervisor: Dr Andy Buckley

Secondary supervisor: TBC

 

‌‌Beam Simulation for T2K

T2K is a long baseline neutrino experiment in Japan, the primary goal of this experiment is to study CP violation in the lepton sector. The high intensity neutrino source for the experiment is generated by the 30 GeV accelerator at J-PARC in Tokai and the neutrinos produced travel through the earth to the 50 kton water Cherenkov detector in the Kamioka mine 295 km away. This project will involve simulating the neutrino beamline which is described in the GEANT4 software package. Accurate modelling of the neutrino beam which services the experiment is critical if T2K is to be sensitive to CP violation in neutrino oscillation. The goal will be to update aspects of the simulation and run large scale simulations on the KEK computing cluster. The work will primarily be software development so previous experience of C++ and Linux is advantageous although training will be provided at the start.

Project type: Data analysis/simulation

Prerequisites: C++ and Linux preferable but not essential

Preferred dates: TBC

Primary supervisor: Dr John Nugent

Secondary supervisor: Professor Paul Soler

 

Cross-section measurement with WAGASCI detector at T2K

T2K is a long baseline neutrino experiment in Japan, the primary goal of this experiment is to study CP violation in the lepton sector. The high intensity neutrino source for the experiment is generated by the 30 GeV accelerator at J-PARC in Tokai and the neutrinos produced travel through the earth to the 50 kton water Cherenkov detector in the Kamioka mine 295 km away. This project will involve simulating neutrino interactions in the WAGASCI detector, a newly installed detector at T2K with novel capabilities. Accurate modelling of neutrino interactions in matter is critical if T2K is to be sensitive to CP violation in neutrino oscillation. The goal will be to extract a neutrino cross-section measurement with simulated and real data using fitting tools developed by the T2K collaboration. The work will primarily be software development so previous experience of C++ and Linux is advantageous although training will be provided at the start.

Project type: Data analysis

Prerequisites: C++ and Linux preferable but not essential

Preferred dates: TBC

Primary supervisor: Dr John Nugent

Secondary supervisor: Professor Paul Soler