CHIPP: Swiss Institute of Particle Physics
The main highlight of 2020 was the Roadmap Workshop 2020. As last year the summer meeting was held in Kandersteg, a village in the Bernese mountains, in the welcoming Victoria Hotel. The Workshop goal was to gather all physicist members of CHIPP to plan the future directions of the Swiss Particle Physics Research in the light of the decisions that have emerged at the European Strategy Update and to prepare the writing of a new Swiss particle physics Roadmap document. [link to the roadmap document].
During the two-day workshop we scheduled common presentation and parallel sessions where the three pillar communities worked on their interests and priorities. The CHIPP Board meeting was held during the first day of the workshop to start to plan the FLARE (SNSF) requests for the 2020 calls.
A group of young physicists contributed to the Roadmap document presenting the results of questionnaires that they collected among the young CHIPP researchers. A dedicated section in the Roadmap document summarises their inputs.
Later in the year CHIPP organised the CHIPP Plenary meeting online, the formal part of the meeting hosted a session with reports of the activities of the various committees such as the European Committee for Future Accelerators, the International Particle Physics Outreach Group, the Astroparticle Physics European Consortium (APPEC), the Nuclear Physics European Collaboration Committee (NuPECC) and the report of the CERN Council delegate. During this meeting CHIPP held the elections to cover the different roles in the association and to select the Swiss representatives in the international organizations. A special talk was dedicated to Gravitational Waves, the common interests between the CHIPP and CHAPS communities.
At the end of June (1 July 2020) CHIPP participated to the annual meeting of the Swiss Physical Society that due to the COVID emergency was concentrated on one day, online. As part of the SPS award ceremony, where all winners of the various SPS prizes were honoured, the CHIPP prize for the best 2020 PhD thesis work in particle physics was awarded to Claudia Merlassino from the University of Bern. Claudia received the award for her doctoral thesis work in ATLAS with the laudatio “for her outstanding contribution in the development of new analysis strategies in the search for physics beyond the Standard Model at the LHC experiments, and for having conceived and conducted an innovative study about the radiation damage of the ATLAS detector in view of the high-luminosity phase of the LHC”. Claudia presented her work at the CHIPP Plenary meeting.
During 2020, the CHIPP Executive Board and the CHIPP Board were very active in the preparation of the Swiss CHIPP Roadmap. The CHIPP EB kept the FLARE Tables updated with the funding of experiments of the Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF) to prepare for the FLARE requests at the end of 2020.
The CHIPP outreach activities continued supporting the thematic portal hosted on the SCNAT website, the multi-lingual “particlephysics.ch”. Thanks to the SCNAT support, we could continue to keep this a lively page with 10 interviews and a video given by B. Vogel, a professional journalist, and several other news articles and press releases in 2020. Several articles were the output of the Swiss National Media visit to CERN, the 23-24 January 2020, two very successful days.
Meetings, Workshops and Schools
In 2020 CHIPP continued to work on its networking and educational goals and organized directly or through its members several meetings, schools and workshops.
Below are some online presentations that took place online during the 2020 from young researchers:
Laura Baudis (UZH) gave:
- a seminar for SwissNex San Francisco, also the consul was present; March 18 link,
- a lecture at the VHS Zurich, Sept 24, called Rätsel Dunkle Materie
- in Januar 7, she gave a lecture on neutrinos for the Los Club Zurich-Airport Called Die unerträgliche Leichtigkeit der Neutrinos.
More talks are listed in her university webpage, a special mention to her lecture about the state-of-the-art in direct searches for particle dark matter at the Schuster Colloquium at the University of Manchester.
Research in particle and astroparticle physics usually involves large infrastructures, which are the result of regional, national and worldwide collaborations. In order to cover the important intellectual and technological challenges, the amounts of human and financial resources required can no longer provided by a single country. The table below shows a snapshot of the current international experimental collaborations involving CHIPP Board members.
Furthermore, smaller cooperation projects exist; many of them occur spontaneously – between groups working in the same field or requiring the same type of infrastructure – or in a coordinated way by CHIPP.
In parallel to these experimental collaborations and projects, Swiss theorists are involved in numerous international collaborations. The prominent ones, in which Swiss theory institutes are key players is
- The LHC Higgs cross-section working group (LHCHXSWG) created in 2010 to produce agreements on cross sections, branching ratios and pseudo-observables relevant to the Higgs boson: M. Spira (PSI) was involved in the LHC Higgs cross-section working group responsible for the HDecay Manual.
At the University of Bern the work on the review of lattice results continues. It is related to pion, kaon, D- and B-meson physics with the aim of making them easily accessible to the particle physics community.
Prof. O. Schneider (EPFL) is convener of a sub-group of the Heavy Flavour Averaging Group (HFLAV). HFLAV is responsible for calculating world averages of measurements of beauty-hadron, charm-hadron and tau-lepton properties from current and past experiments and provides a comprehensive resource for the field in terms of web pages and full documentation of results.
One particular example of scientific collaboration and help at the service of the new arrivals in the LHCb experiment has been provided by the EPFL team that has built the LHCb starterkit project where the lessons from the dedicated Workshops and online tutorials are stored. This year the EPFL researchers Andy Morris, Biljana Mitreska, David Friday, Lakshan Ram (LHCb) organized an LHCb Starterkit 2020 virtual workshop where Surapat Ek-In and Violaine Bellée volunteered for teaching and demonstrating.
Project Swiss institutes
CHIPP Board Members
High-Energy particle physics
Beck, Ereditato, Golling, Iacobucci, Mermod, Nessi, Sfyrla, Weber, Wu
ETHZ, PSI, Zurich
Canelli, Dissertori, Grab, Kotlinski, Kilminster, Wallny
Bay, Nakada, Schneider, Serra, Shchutska
Bern, EPFL, ETHZ, Geneva, PSI
Blondel, Rivkin, Dissertori, Laine, Seidel
Iacobucci, Sfyrla, Scampoli
ETHZ, Geneva, Zurich
Biland, Montaruli, Canelli
NA61 / T2K / HyperK
Bern, ETHZ, Geneva
Blondel, Ereditato, Sanchez, Rubbia
Bern Ereditato, Webe
EPFL, Geneva, Zurich
Bay, Blondel, Kilminster, Mermod, Serra, Shaposhnikov
WA105 + DUNE
Bern, ETHZ, Geneva
Blondel, Rubbia, Weber
High-precision and muon physics
ETHZ, Geneva, PSI, Zurich
Blondel, Dissertori, Grab, Hildebrandt, Kotlinski, Ritt, Wallny, Serra
ETHZ, PSI, Bern
Kirch, Lauss, Piegsa
Institutional collaboration (in alphabetical order):
Several CHIPP members are acting as official delegates to international organizations in 2019:
One of the main objectives for CHIPP is to attract the young public to Physics and Astroparticle Physics. To achieve this goal more than 50 educational events like information days for BSc and MSc students, for pupils finishing high school and for high-school classes were organized, throughout Switzerland, involving more than 4000 young students.
More than 200 Swiss high-school pupils (at the Universities of Bern, Geneva, Zurich and the ETHZ) were invited to participate in the International Masterclasses ‘Hands on Particle Physics’, where over 13’000 Gymnasium level students in about 215 institutes over 52 countries can actually work with real data from the CERN Large Hadron Collider (LHC). A Masterclass took place in person in Bern on 3 March 2020, before the lockdown started. About 20 kids participated. Several EPFL young researchers and Professors (Federico Redi, Fred Blanc, Sonia Bouchibaand EPFL professors) organized different Masterclass events (specific to LHCb Experiment, dedicated to ROOT) in collaboration with the IPPOG collaboration.
Since 2017 CERN invites high-school students to come to CERN for two weeks, to gain practical experience in science, technology, and innovation (High-School Students Internship Programme, HSSIP). Each student gets a supervisor and works on a project, eg. working on vacuum techniques, accelerators or in experimental areas, or working on an analysis or a simulation project. Switzerland takes part for the first time; HSSIP was scheduled for Autumn 2020 and then re-scheduled to Spring '21. It was now decided to move it to Autumn '21 in order to have sufficient support from the supervisors. We received 65 applications from highly motivated students until March 31, 2020. Each student submitted a short statement, a motivation letter and a video. The applications were evaluated by a committee with six members which chose 24 candidates from all over Switzerland.
Scientists of all institutes support teachers and educate students by going into classes or offering courses at the institutes as standalone events or in the framework of TecDays or technology and IT weeks.
The PSI Laboratory for Particle Physics is home of the vocational training of electronics technicians.
Some of the apprentices take part in national and international championships. There are the Swiss
Skills at the national level and the gold medal winner can go on to the World Skills. Our electronics
apprentices have been, as every year, very successful. PSI researchers, as M. Hildebrandt, are
participating in the local high schools as support for exams and presentations about Physics topics.
CHIPP Physicists collaborate with Universities for semester works, master thesis and summer student’s coordination. Particle Physics laboratory courses at a PSI secondary beam line are organised in cooperation with UniZH (Lea Caminada), ETHZ and Uni Heidelberg.
In the following we outline a few of the key activities for the general public and high-school students of the past years:
Specialised school labs as well as lectures and workshops for school classes play a key role in attracting young students to study STEM related subjects. There are several dedicated laboratories at our institutes that offer special courses in cosmology as well as particle, astroparticle and neutrino physics for school classes targeting different ages of young students. With hands-on experiments, visits to the labs and by meeting bachelor and master students they get in contact with state-of-the-art research and passionate researchers (iLab at PSI, Science Lab at the University of Zurich, Physioscope at University of Geneva).
Several events were organised during the year; young researchers helped and participated giving presentations and supporting young kids to get closer to scientific topics:
Riccardo Poggi (Uni Geneva) participated to the CERN virtual visits and to the ATLAS virtual visits. Three of those were also streamed on YouTube and Facebook. One was part of the Bergamo Scienza scientific festival and another was part of the European Researchers Night.
CHIPP’s website contains news, documents, minutes of all meetings, as well as the link to the complete membership database. The continuous dialogue between the institutes, which is enshrined in the CHIPP Statutes and By-Laws, aims at having at hand in a timely and transparent manner the information about current and planned research activities. As in previous years, CHIPP took an active role in the biannual meetings of SCNAT’s Round Table International Organisations and Research Infrastructures. The scope of this information forum is the exchange between the research fields involving with large international infrastructures. It accounts for the participation of Swiss groups in international research facilities and also comprises representatives of the SERI, SNSF, and “Swiss universities”.
Gender issue & society
Several events were organized in the contest of the “International day of women and girls in science” project of the United Nation, around the 11 February:
Laura Baudis (UZH) was interviewed (together with her husband, Michael Baudis) “Behind the Scenes: Life & Family as International Researchers” for Nextrends, 7 May.
The SCNAT offered a firm place with increased visibility among the other fields of science for both the CHIPP website and the more general Physics outreach website (‘particlephysics.ch’). The site was kept lively throughout 2020 with the addition of 10 interviews, a video and other news articles. As approved by the CHIPP Board, the articles are authored by B. Vogel, a science journalist collaborating with CHIPP since many years. Dr. H. P. Beck (the University of Bern) was responsible for their scientific content and Angela Benelli inserted them on the SCNAT portal in Italian, in German and in English. CHIPP is grateful to SCNAT for supporting this activity as an important dialogue with the society.
During 2020 the CHIPP Twitter account @CHIPP_news has continuously spread physics news to increase the public awareness about science and publicized available jobs in academia and outside for physicists.
At the EPFL, G. Pietrzyk is in charge of the LHCb Experiment Twitter account: @lhcbexperiment and the LHCbExperiment Instagram account with around 26.3K and 13000 followers respectively. The University of Geneva has set the Particle Physics Twitter @DPNC_Unige. The Facebook site Verflixtes Higgs continued to be fed by H. P. Beck.
With A. Benelli as the Swiss member in the European Particle Physics Communication Network (EPPCN), CHIPP continues its link between the CERN press office and the Swiss media, as well as with the communication offices of the institutes related to CHIPP. The contact has been established and a measure of the media coverage of particle physics in Switzerland is provided on-line.
The Science Exploratorium UZH of the University of Zurich opened on Campus Irchel in November 2020. It offers space for five temporary exhibition islands. With the help of texts, videos, and experiments, scientists from the Faculty of Mathematics and Natural Sciences present their respective field of research or research project. Among the first exhibits three are from physics:
The exhibit on CERN show how scientists are using the world's largest particle accelerator, the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) at CERN, to investigate the nature of matter and fundamental forces. Visitors can learn how particle collisions are detected at the CMS detector at the LHC by looking at the 1:10 scale model on display.
The Dark Matter exhibition highlights the XENON experiment at the Gran Sasso underground laboratory in Italy. The heart of the XENON detector - a time projection chamber that was filled with 150 kg of liquid Xenon and operated until 2018 - is on display in a showcase.
One of the strong benefits of Physics in Society is the medical application of Particle Physics and Accelerator Technology, in the magazine “5232”, was covered the important topic of proton therapy research applications in PSI.
Hans Peter Beck (University of Bern/Fribourg) was invited to LHCP 2020 Paris (that took place virtual), to talk about the balloon flight: "Science & Art at the 42nd International Hot-Air Balloon Festival and the Balloon Museum in Château-d’Oex”. HP Beck gave an invited zoom talk at the conference of the Science Leadership School of the West Siberian Center of Science and Education, Tyumen, Russia the 25 August 2020: «Knowledge transfer. Science and society — The Large Hadron Collider at CERN, Accelerating Science and Innovation» (in English).
Video: Since the traditional open day at the Physics Department of the University of Zurich had to be cancelled the students and postdocs of the University of Zurich prepared short videos presenting their research.
A multidisciplinary Art & Science exhibition took place at the Espace Ballon in Chateau-d’Oex; the special exhibition about cosmic rays was organised by Hans Peter Beck (University Bern/Fribourg) and Michael Hoch from CMS.