My I-CUREUS project has been a continuation of work I’ve done over the past two summers in Carleton’s ATLAS group. The ATLAS is one of the four large particle detectors in the Large Hadron Collider at CERN, and was one of the two involved in the observations of the Higgs boson announced in 2012. In 2018, the collider will be upgraded to a higher rate of collisions, and a disk of particle trackers in the ATLAS called the Small Wheel will be unable to cope with the high luminosity; Carleton is part of Canada’s effort to build its replacement, the New Small Wheel. The technology being used (called sTGC detectors) detects particles by measuring the ionization they produce passing through the sTGC.
My project involved the development and testing of a simulation which models the signals produced by the detector, and will allow the precise trajectory of high-energy particles to be reconstructed from the real signals. Specifically since this past fall, I have worked on validating my simulation against a similar one written at CERN (which is too slow and lacks one key feature of mine).
This project has drawn on skills acquired in many of my classes, but primarily in kinematics, electromagnetism, and computer programming, and has given me experience in using these skills in a much more complicated setting. I would highly recommend that any student who is interested in doing research get involved with the I-CUREUS project, as early research experience gives an interesting and useful context for future studies.