Hello everyone,

my name is Alessia Saggio and I’m very pleased to be the selected PhD student of the AMVA4NewPhysics network at Université Catholique de Louvain. I studied at the University of Catania (Italy) where I took the Bachelor’s degree in Physics in November 2013 and a Master’s degree in Particle Physics in October 2015.

Particle physics has always fascinated me: to study the subatomic world meant to me the discovery of something surprising, so untouchable but so incredibly evident through the researches carried on. Thus… here I am!

As I will write more articles for this blog in the future, let me take this chance to introduce myself by telling you something about me and what I’ve worked on during my academic career.

Especially during the two years of my master’s degree, I had the opportunity to travel a lot. After attending a course about femtoscopy in Catania taught by Professor Michael Lisa, I spent one month at the Ohio State University in Ohio, USA, in November 2014, where I worked on the implementation of some C++ classes for the design of a root-based framework aiming to extract information of interest in femtoscopy from intermediate energy experiments. Basically, femtoscopy is a technique that allows to retrieve the radius of the fireball produced in heavy ion collisions by looking at the correlation function between the primary particles.

The entrance of the physics department at the Ohio State University.

Usually every experiment has its own software that treats the raw data coming from the experimental acquisition and extracts the information of interest from them. The great idea behind the software we developed in the USA was to create a code as general as possible in order to deal with data from many experiments. Quite tricky but… also pretty nice!

I also spent one month at the University of Florence (Italy), where I had the chance to deal with techniques of data analysis for astroparticle physics and learn to use a simulation software (FLUKA), useful for the preparation of my master thesis.

In fact, in my master thesis I was involved in the simulation and the development of an innovative calorimeter made up of barium fluoride, which allows to improve the energy resolution by about 40% by using the two scintillation components of this material to discriminate the particles of the induced showers. This kind of calorimeter can be used without any issue both in astroparticle physics experiments (i.e. CaloCube, a new high-acceptance, segmented calorimeter) and in particle physics experiments.

Moreover, I had the opportunity to participate in the CaloCube test beam at CERN. What we did during the test beam was to send different particles (muons, electrons, pions, protons) accelerated by the SpS onto an array of barium fluoride crystals.

Instrumental setup used for the CaloCube test beam.

Even if short, this experience allowed me to be part of a research group in one of the biggest laboratories in the world, to relate to them in a constructive way and, above all, to understand that this was exactly the place I’d like to work at.

I dare to say that every experience, in Italy and abroad, meant to me a real possibility to see the world through a different point of view. They have been challenging, sometimes very hard, but at the end immensely gratifying. To face a totally new scholastic and working environment, to go through different habits, to deal with physics topics in a language different from mine gave me a stronger awareness of how much stimulating the work in different contexts can be.

My expectations for the next years? To grow within this challenging project, to relate to the other members of the network, to travel a lot, to learn many new things in CP3 but also during my periods abroad and (inevitably!) to work hard. So many expectations, and the hope to be up to the task I was given.