Dr. Doug Berry and Dr. Zhenbin Wu, both postdoctoral researchers in the UIC Department of Physics, have won Achievement Awards for their contributions to the CMS Experiment at the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN).
The experiment, which smashes subatomic particles together at light speed, relies on sensitive instruments that require frequent upgrades. For the last three years, Dr. Berry has overseen part of a crucial upgrade, preparing the Phase I Forward Pixel modules for installation on the pixel tracker. The effort is massive and painstaking. The detector needed 672 new modules, each needing to be tested, debugged, repaired, and calibrated before installation. In all, over 1,200 modules were tested before the final 672 were installed. The improved pixel trackers will enable researchers to observe and record the effects of high-intensity collisions. After logging so many hours in the lab, Dr. Berry says, “It was a relief to see my work is recognized.”
Dr. Wu has for some time led the overall design of the L-1 Trigger menu. The trigger is a crucial part of the experiment, dictating what can be studied properly and what might remain unexplored. The CMS L-1 Trigger menu not only must contain up to 250 different selections, but must also be responsive to the constantly evolving needs of the experiment. As Dr. Wu explained, “Without the L1 menu, the CMS detector won’t collect any meaningful data and be able to perform analysis.” In fact, a bad L1 menu might even cause damage to the CMS detector. Professor Nikos Varelas, who works closely with Dr. Wu, says he is “impressed with Zhenbin’s dedication, creativity, and outstanding performance in his overall research contributions to the CMS experiment.”