Faces and places

IOP award winners for 2018 announced • Markov prize for Boos and Gorbunov • Young scientists Trnka and Gray win awards • Two researchers awarded CMS thesis honour • Filipino and Indian students win BL4S competition • Larry Gladney named dean of diversity at Yale • Science for development in Vietnam • Weighing options for better ion-therapy systems • SHiP collaboration meets in Russia • HEPTech exposes young researchers to the business world • CERN openlab goes to Europe’s premier computing event • PhD training programme for southeastern European students

IOP award winners for 2018 announced

Prize winners

Each year, the UK Institute of Physics (IOP) recognises outstanding and exceptional contributions to physics. 2018 sees five awards go to those working in high-energy physics and related fields.

Jenny Thomas from University College London received the Michael Faraday Medal and Prize “for her outstanding investigations into the physics of neutrino oscillations, in particular her leadership of the MINOS/MINOS+ long-baseline neutrino-oscillation experiment”. MINOS was one of the seminal oscillation experiments, confirming that accelerator neutrinos change type as they travel. Thomas was one of a handful of people who orchestrated the formation of the collaboration, becoming co-spokesperson in 2010 and leading the proposal of a new phase of the MINOS experiment, MINOS+.

Bobby Acharya from the International Centre for Theoretical Physics in Italy and King’s College London won the Lawrence Bragg Medal and Prize “for his contributions as the driver of several projects to teach and promote physics in the developing world, with the ultimate aim of developing sustainable physics research in those countries”. Acharya is involved with the ATLAS experiment at the LHC, and specialises in the phenomenological consequences of string/M-theory.

The winners of the Katharine Burr Blodgett Medal and Prize, awarded for outstanding and sustained contributions to the organisation or application of physics in an industrial or commercial context, were Michael Begg and James Ramage from Tesla Engineering Ltd “for the transformation of Tesla Engineering Ltd from a manufacturer of conventional magnets for particle accelerators into a world leader of magnets for high-energy physics, MRI and oncology equipment”.

Stefan Söldner-Rembold from the University of Manchester received the James Chadwick Medal and Prize, reserved for distinguished contributions to particle physics, in recognition of “his contributions to pioneering experimental work in high-energy particle physics and his international leadership in Higgs and neutrino physics”. Söldner-Rembold is co-spokesperson of the Deep Underground Neutrino Experiment (DUNE) and has held many leadership roles, including being spokesperson of the D0 experiment at Fermilab from 2009 to 2011.

Finally, the Fred Hoyle Medal and Prize, made for distinguished contributions to astrophysics, gravitational physics or cosmology, went to Hiranya Peiris from University College London and the Oskar Klein Centre for Cosmoparticle Physics, Stockholm. She was cited “for her leading contributions to understanding the origin and evolution of cosmic structure, by pioneering an interdisciplinary approach that combines theoretical, statistical and observational cosmology, astrophysics, numerical relativity and theoretical physics”.

The award ceremony will take place on 20 November at the Royal Lancaster London Hotel.

Markov prize for Boos and Gorbunov

Markov prize

The Institute for Nuclear Research of the Russian Academy of Sciences (INR RAS) has awarded its 2018 Markov prize to Eduard Boos from Lomonosov Moscow State University and Dmitry Gorbunov from INR RAS for their “outstanding contributions to the theoretical studies of hypothetical elementary particles and developments of methods for their experimental search”. Boos was recognised for, among other achievements, participating in the creation of a new method of event simulation that takes into account loop corrections and a new method of optimising kinematical variables. Gorbunov was recognised for, among other things, the development of an experimental programme to search for new physics in the goldstino sector and suggesting direct experimental tests of the minimal extension of the Standard Model, in addition to putting forward the idea that blazars are sources of ultra-high-energy cosmic rays (see “IceCube neutrino points to origin of cosmic rays“). The award was presented at the 15th Markov Readings, a series of international seminars held in commemoration of the prominent Russian scientist Moisey Markov, in Moscow on 13 May.

Young scientists Trnka and Gray win awards

Trnka and Gray

Particle physicists Jaroslav Trnka and Heather Gray have each received a Young Scientist Prize in Particles and Fields from the International Union of Pure and Applied Physics (IUPAP). The prizes, each consisting of a medal and a €1000 cash award, were presented at the 39th International Conference on High Energy Physics in Seoul, Korea, on 4–11 July.

Trnka, an assistant professor at the University of California, Davis, was awarded the prize “for the discovery and exploration of new physical and mathematical principles underlying the dynamics of particle scattering amplitudes in a wide range of theories”.

Gray, a divisional fellow at Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory in the US, received the prize “for her broad and creative contributions as well as leadership in performance and physics analysis in the ATLAS experiment and beyond, culminating in her strong role in the searches and initial measurements of Higgs boson interactions with quarks”.

Two researchers awarded CMS thesis honour

Thesis awards

On 25 June, the CMS collaboration presented its annual PhD thesis awards to two recipients, Luca Cadamuro and Felice Pantaleo, from a total of 18 theses nominated. Theses written on any CMS-related topic, including physics analysis, simulation, computing, detector development and engineering, are eligible for nomination. The theses are critiqued on originality, clarity of writing and content, and impact on CMS and in high-energy physics. Cadamuro received his PhD from École polytechnique, University of Paris-Saclay, for his thesis work on a search for the production of two Higgs bosons. Pantaleo received his PhD from the University of Hamburg for his work on new track-reconstruction techniques for CMS.


Filipino and Indian students win BL4S competition

BL4S competition

High-school students from the International School of Manila, Philippines, and R.N. Podar School in Mumbai, India, were the winners of the 2018 Beamline for Schools (BL4S) competition – a CERN initiative open to high-school students from all over the world who want to get a taste of the life of a scientist. In September, the selected students will carry out their proposed experiments at CERN together with professional researchers. Overall, the competition involved more than 1500 students from 42 countries, from which 30 teams were shortlisted. Each will receive a cosmic-ray detector known as Cosmic Pi.

The Filipino team, “Beamcats”, consisting of three boys and three girls, proposed using pions for cancer therapy. They will simulate human tissues using materials that are similar in composition to the human body, and measure the energy lost by the beam while travelling through it. The Indian team,“Cryptic Ontics”, comprises nine boys and nine girls and aims to study the deflection of protons and electrons in a magnetic field to learn about anomalies in the Earth’s magnetic field.

Larry Gladney named dean of diversity at Yale


Experimental particle physicist Larry Gladney of the University of Pennsylvania in the US has been appointed dean of diversity and faculty development for the Yale Faculty of Arts and Sciences – a new role intended to promote equity and inclusion.

Gladney’s research career has focused on the study of weak interactions of heavy quarks and the experimental examination of dark energy. He is currently working on the planning and simulation of the Large Synoptic Survey Telescope, an observatory under construction in Chile that is designed to measure the expansion history of the universe. Gladney will continue to carry out research and teach once he takes up the new role in January 2019.

Science for development in Vietnam

ICISE conference centre

The international workshop Science for Development was held at the International Centre for Interdisciplinary Science and Education (ICISE) in Quy Nhơn, Vietnam, on May 9–10. The second in a new series of Les Rencontres du Vietnam that kicked off two years ago, the event brought together scientists, policy makers, economics experts, entrepreneurs and industry managers to design a common roadmap for development based on science and technology.

Based on past experience, scientists have been able to construct an effective “micro-society” that is based on a collaborative – yet competitive – approach to problem solving. They have built multifaceted laboratories in which a new generation of scientists is trained in a border-free environment. One good example is CERN. Born from the ashes of the Second World War, CERN has grown to become the world’s largest laboratory for fundamental physics. Today, the Organization is recognised as a powerful model for peaceful and harmonious development.

In July 2016, motivated by a new proactive approach to positively impact society, scientists connected to the Les Rencontres de Moriond launched the Les Rencontres du Vietnam series on science and society. The workshop is led by the founder of Les Rencontres de Moriond, physicist Jean Trân Thanh Vân, and is organised in conjunction with CERN, the International Solvay Institutes and UNESCO.

The goal of this year’s event was to gather valuable input from all of the different stakeholders to eventually design a roadmap. This would have the twofold goal of raising the awareness of scientists regarding their potential role in society and, at the same time, helping society look at scientists as powerful allies for development. Designed to trigger stimulating questions, the conference sought to identify the most urgent societal issues that would benefit from a clearer and deeper involvement of scientists. These include the sharing of information (such as open-access publishing and open hardware); strengthening ties with politicians, governments and parliaments; and more evidence-based policy when dealing with open societal issues.

The day after the conference, participants were addressed by the President of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam, Tr`ân Đại Quang, and by many high-level dignitaries from the government, parliament and the communist party.

Our main messages to them included: one, that Vietnam should increase its participation to international scientific unions or organisations, such as CERN and IUPAP (the International Union of Pure and Applied Physics), and take a lead in pushing a proposal for an International Year of Basic Sciences for Development that has been made in the context of the United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development; and two, that Vietnam and other countries should promote basic, applied and social sciences for their development. Vietnam is a “young” country, full of dynamism, competencies and ready to develop in a respectful and sustainable way.

The outcome of the conference will be summarised in a report that will be added to the collection Science and Society in a CERN perspective, which already includes reports from the previous conference as well as other documents that focus on the role of CERN and fundamental science in society. The scope is to allow scientists, stakeholders and members of the public to access information about the efforts being done to put these themes under the spotlight.

  • Michel Spiro, president designate of IUPAP.

Weighing options for better ion-therapy systems

Virtual particle therapy

Sixty experts from all over the world met on 19–21 June at the European Scientific Institute (ESI) in Archamps, France, to explore future medical accelerators for treating cancer with ions. The workshop, jointly organised by CERN, ESI and GSI in Darmstadt, Germany, focused on designs for a next-generation medical and research facility for ion therapy in Europe. The event was the second in the series “Ions for cancer therapy, space research and material science”, which was initiated by GSI to highlight the increasingly important interface between physics and its applications.

Particle therapy, also known as hadron therapy, is an advanced form of radiotherapy that uses protons, carbon and other ions to precisely target tumour cells while sparing the surrounding healthy tissues. While commercial proton-therapy equipment is now available, there are only a few bespoke facilities providing treatment with heavier ions such as carbon. Ions are effective with tumours that are resistant to photon irradiation, and their action on DNA is fundamentally different, resulting in the release of more complex DNA fragments from destroyed cells. These, in turn, could also trigger the immune system to attack unirradiated metastases across the body, particularly if combined with the right immune-modulating agents. However, the cost, complexity and size of ion-therapy facilities are hampering the widespread adoption of this treatment modality (see CERN Courier January 2018 p25 and p32).

The availability of technically still-challenging gantry systems for ions is one of the elements that would lead to faster, more efficient and flexible therapy systems for the routine treatment of “big killers” such as lung cancer. Two approaches for a next-generation therapy system were discussed at the Archamps event: one, relying on proven delivery schemes, could be based on a superconducting synchrotron; another involves novel approaches such as linacs with a high pulse-repetition rate.

Compared to the situation for state-of-the-art photon therapy, where 3D imaging is seamlessly integrated in virtually every setup to guide the treatment, new options for image-guided therapy must be accommodated into ion-therapy systems. As pointed out at the conference, the pinnacle of this development could be fast, adaptive particle therapy combined with online magnetic resonance imaging and monitoring of prompt emissions to assess the particle-beam range. This would finally enable the precise elimination of tumours in complex anatomical locations or moving organs.

During the closing discussion session, it was made clear that the community is eager to establish a dedicated collaboration resulting in a proposal to the European Commission for a new European facility for ion therapy and research. Discussions about a possible R&D programme raised the need to compare the linac- and synchrotron-based designs, for example, and a dedicated meeting is proposed in the autumn to define how best to proceed.

  • Maurizio Vretenar, CERN, Yiota Foka, GSI, Louis Rinolfi, ESI.

SHiP collaboration meets in Russia

SHiP collaboration meeting

The 14th international meeting of CERN’s Search for Hidden Particles (SHiP) collaboration took place on 6–8 June at the National University of Science and Technology (NUST) MISIS in Moscow. During the event, more than 50 specialists from 12 countries discussed current projects and plans.

Proposed in 2013, SHiP would explore the domain of very weakly interacting particles, which may make up dark matter, and study the properties of tau neutrinos. The experiment is designed to be installed at a new beam-dump facility at the Super Proton Synchrotron (SPS) at CERN (see CERN Courier March 2016 p25). The SHiP collaboration comprises 52 institutions from 17 countries, including nine Russian institutions, and is part of CERN’s Physics Beyond Colliders programme.

During the meeting, the main topic discussed was the detector and instrumentation challenges associated with the search for weakly interacting particles such as heavy neutral leptons from the decays of heavy hadrons. The discovery of these particles would constitute proof for physics beyond the Standard Model. Likewise, the absence of the particles would place limits on a wide range of models describing dark matter and its properties.

NUST MISIS, which officially joined the SHiP experiment in 2015, is heavily involved in the development of a prototype of a tungsten–molybdenum target, one of the central nodes of the experiment. CERN is currently testing the prototype at SPS and the results will be published later this year.

  • Dina Moiseeva, NUST MISIS.

HEPTech exposes young researchers to the business world

HEPTech-symposium participants

For a fifth consecutive year, the annual symposium of the High-Energy Physics Technology Transfer Network (HEPTech), fostered by CERN, brought together early-stage researchers in high-energy physics and related scientific domains to help them transform their research ideas into marketable innovations. The symposium took place on 11–15 June, and was hosted by the brand-new ELI-ALPS research institute in Szeged, Hungary. Sixteen young researchers from 10 European countries had the chance to meet six experienced professionals, entrepreneurs and technology-transfer experts from the business world to learn how science can impact society.

Along with the traditional topics, such as entrepreneurship in physics, negotiation skills, intellectual-property protection and investor readiness, several new topics were introduced this year. These included the specifics of “open innovation” in a knowledge-based economy and how to conduct research in a scientifically responsible way.

A special session was dedicated to the creation and funding of spin-offs, during which delegates were introduced to the principles of entrepreneurship as well as to grant schemes for financing start-ups and to the importance of the geographical definition of their potential markets.

The story of the creation and growth of Raspberry Pi – an affordable, credit-card-sized computer designed to be used in educational environments – revealed how developments in research were transformed into successful marketable products. The story also addressed issues concerning the development of a commercially sustainable product, such as the role of competition and improvement of the product to meet users’ needs.

Topics relating to intellectual property and patent applications triggered lively discussions, with special attention paid to intellectual-property rights in an open-innovation system. The exposure to win–win negotiation techniques allowed delegates to discover their own negotiation styles, and a great challenge for participants was the preparation of five-minute pitches of research projects to attract investors’ attention. The last day of the symposium saw the early-stage researchers delivering their pitches before a panel of experts who gave them constructive feedback.

This year’s HEPTech-symposium participants qualified their experience as “a high-quality environment for developing business skills”, “a perfect place for networking and learning”, and “an outstanding opportunity for bridging the gap between science and business”.

  • Eleonora Getsova, HEPTech.

CERN openlab goes to Europe’s premier computing event

Maria Girone

From 24 to 28 June, more than 3400 members of the scientific computing community gathered in Frankfurt, Germany, for the annual ISC High Performance conference. The event showcases the latest developments in a host of fields related to high-performance computing (HPC) and features a significant industry show, with more than 150 companies and research organisations exhibiting. It also plays host to the biannual announcement of the “TOP500” list of the world’s fastest supercomputers, with Oak Ridge National Laboratory’s Summit supercomputer taking this year’s top spot following a five-year period of domination by the Chinese machines Tianhe-2 and Sunway TaihuLight.

Maria Girone, CTO of CERN openlab, gave the keynote talk for this year’s conference. CERN openlab is a unique public–private partnership between CERN and leading companies such as Intel, Oracle, Siemens and Huawei to make research carried out at CERN and other laboratories possible. Girone’s talk, titled “tackling tomorrow’s computing challenges today at CERN”, discussed the schedule of upgrades for the LHC – which will culminate in the operation of the High-Luminosity LHC (HL-LHC) in around 2026 – and how this will result in a host of new challenges (CERN Courier November 2017 p5). Using current software, hardware and analysis techniques, the required computing capacity when the HL-LHC comes online is likely to be roughly 50–100 times higher than today, with data storage expected to enter the exabyte (1018 bytes) regime. Girone ended her talk by highlighting a range of specific areas – such as machine learning and data analytics – where collaborative R&D efforts with industry are either already taking place or hold significant future potential, and social-media posts about the talk reached an audience of more than 100,000.

Members of CERN openlab’s management team, which is led by Alberto Di Meglio, held meetings with a range of existing and potential partner companies, including D-Wave, Google and Cray. The event also saw Sofia Vallecorsa of the CERN IT department awarded the prize for best research poster in the category “programming models and systems software”. Her poster presented work carried out through a CERN openlab project with Intel to explore the feasibility of using deep-learning algorithms for the simulation of particle transport in the
LHC experiments.

  • Andrew Purcell, CERN.

PhD training programme for southeastern European students

BS2018 School

Since its foundation in 2003, the Southeastern European Network in Mathematical and Theoretical Physics (SEENET-MTP) has organised scientific training and research activities in the Balkan and neighbouring regions. The fifth and “closing” school of the first cycle of one such activity, High Energy and Particle Physics: Theory and Phenomenology – BS2018, was held in Niš, Serbia on 3–9 June.

In 2015, CERN and SEENET-MTP launched a joint PhD training programme aimed at students from southeastern European countries (CERN Courier April 2018 p52). The main part of the programme consisted of a series of one-week schools for PhD and advanced MSc students in high-energy physics, and in 2017 the programme became part of a general agreement of cooperation between CERN and SEENET-MTP.

At BS2018, Sergey Sibiryakov (CERN) gave an introduction to cosmic-structure formation and Kyriakos Papadodimas (CERN) introduced the AdS/CFT correspondence and black holes. Paolo Creminelli (ICTP) taught cosmology and inflation, and Lasha Berezhiani (LMU/MPI)  gave an introduction to supersymmetry. The organisers owe a special gratitude to Emilian Dudas (CPHT), who agreed to cover the Standard Model course and gave a brief introduction to string phenomenology, and also to Ignatios Antoniadis (AEC/LPTHE), who completed the latter course. Alexei Starobinsky (Landau Institute) was a special guest lecturer and gave the closing lecture on inflation and its present status.

Around 40 students from 10 countries attended the school and each had the opportunity to present their work through oral and poster sessions. The school was followed by the seventh edition of the Balkan Workshop, BW2018 – Field Theory and the Early Universe, on June 10–14, which was attended by 51 scientists from 15 countries and comprised around 30 lectures.

The EPS and SEENET-MTP jointly marked their anniversaries: 50 years of the EPS (for the SEE region) and 15 years of the network.

The next cycle of the joint PhD training programme is expected to start in Ioannina in Greece in the spring of 2019.

Goran S Djordjevic´ and Danilo Delibašic´, University of Niš.