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Experimental physicist

  1. Oct 13, 2011 #1
    Hi everybody. Can you talk some about dealy life of an experimental high energy physicist who work in CERN, FERMILAB e.t.c as full time worker. What does he or she do? I think only a few people do real things. A few people prepare experiments to research and decide which variables will be used to new collision. The others analyse only data which are came from collisions for example by using ROOT etc on compuder all day. However can be found any person to analyse these data. The person who analyse these data does not have to be a clever creative person. When conditions are so why should be an experimental high energy physicist( experimental particle physicist). How can I use my creativeness in these work conditions.
  2. jcsd
  3. Oct 13, 2011 #2
    When we publicize our results to larger lay-person audience, we tend to focus on the conceptual side. After all, theory is both the motivation behind the experiment, as well as the ultimate result. So we simplify and skip a lot of steps, among which the entire actual experiment ! So people may feel like they do not know very well what experimentalists do. However, it is not supposed to send the message that experiments are trivial or uninteresting (or that people really know what theoreticians do). Mostly all new experiments contain some original and clever ingredients (often driven by technology). Sometimes, very ingenious tricks. Especially in high energy physics, the experiment are long and difficult, they involve many highly skilled and dedicated individuals who respect each others' expertise, and such collaboration often inspire humility. Theory, experiment and technological innovation is circle which breaks if any element would be to disappear. I personally find the environment very stimulating. It is even sometimes hard to walk away for vacation, to be honest.
  4. Nov 6, 2011 #3

    I'm a new graduate student joining a group that works on the analysis of T2K data. (T2K is a huge collaboration in Japan).

    I've seen that you have a wrong view of how the analysis is done. It is not just typing commands in ROOT, it is about really understanding and modelling the highly complicated physical interactions happening before the particle you detected arrived.

    The difficulty of the measurements and the high precision required to actually fulfill the goals of the collaboration requires you to be highly creative.

    Of course, if you would like to work in something more abstract, there are tons of theoretical problems where you will be able to imagine "freely" (at the cost of studying stuff that might never be found (monopoles, string theory, etc.))
  5. Nov 6, 2011 #4
    I am a new graduate student major in experimental high energy physics also, but I am wondeing how to become a expert quickly? I mean that do i need to understant all the things about my work firstly, and then to finish my work? I am sad for my poor knowledeg.
  6. Nov 6, 2011 #5
    I'm in the same situation.

    Is hard because everyone in the group that I'm joining has been working in this for at least 3 years, so I feel all the time that they know too much and that I don't know anything. However my supervisor is a fine lady who tells me that this is the normal process, and that everyone knows that I'm just starting so I have to understand everything before I can actually contribute.

    I guess there is a lot of work ahead of us, but, isn't that what we signed up for?
  7. Nov 6, 2011 #6
    I hope you are joking - there is no shortcut to becoming an expert, and graduate school isn't about trying to find one. You finish something when it's done, whether that's a complete package of everything (rarely) or a portion that is self-contained enough to be able to "finish" along the way.
  8. Nov 7, 2011 #7
    Thank you. What I need now is someone who can lead my way.
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