Melvyn J. Shochet
Kersten Distinguished Service Professor of Physics
Enrico Fermi Institute
University of Chicago
5640 S. Ellis Ave.
My research involves interactions between elementary particles at the highest manmade energies. For many years, the group worked on the Collider Detector at Fermilab (CDF), a massive detector that we built to study collisions between 1000 GeV protons and 1000 GeV antiprotons. The most important CDF discovery was the top quark, nature’s heaviest building block, with a mass of 172 GeV, approximately the mass of an entire gold atom.
For the past 15 years, my group has been working on the ATLAS experiment at the CERN Large Hadron Collider (LHC), which produces proton-proton collisions at a center-of-mass energy of 13 TeV. The most important ATLAS discovery is the Higgs boson. My group’s recent physics studies have focused on using the Higgs boson as a tool to search for new phenomena. These include the production of dark matter particles in association with a Higgs boson, and the production of new massive particles that decay into a pair of Higgs bosons.
We have developed and built an upgrade to the ATLAS trigger, which selects interesting collisions in real time for later study. Hadron collider experiments can efficiently and quickly select events that contain electrons, muons, or generic hadron jets. However it is much more difficult to identify heavy elementary particles, the bottom quark and tau lepton, because of very large backgrounds. These are major decay products of the Higgs boson and many postulated new particles that could appear at the LHC. That makes triggering on bottom quarks and tau leptons a priority. We have built FTK, a system of electronics that can reconstruct all of the particle trajectories emanating from proton-proton collisions three orders of magnitude more quickly than can be done in the ATLAS trigger computing farm. We are currently commission FTK and designing a major upgrade to the track trigger electronics for the high luminosity LHC which will operate in the next decade.