by David Calvet

Adjacent to the largest natural park in France, Clermont-Ferrand is the capital of the Auvergne Region. Major companies (Michelin, Limagrain, Volvic, etc.) contribute to the economic growth of the city, which counts 35,000 students. World capital of short films, Clermont-Ferrand offers a wide variety of cultural events.

With such an environment, Blaise Pascal university provides an ideal context for the students that wish to study in one of its major training and research areas: sciences and technologies; literature, languages and arts; human and social sciences; physical and sports activities sciences and techniques.

View on the Blaise Pascal university campus as seen from the particle physics laboratory.

Created at the beginning of the 1960’s, the Laboratoire de Physique Corpusculaire (the particle physics laboratory) is located in the heart of the Blaise Pascal university scientific campus, in the physics department. The LPC staff is composed of professors and associate professors, hired by the university, and full-time researchers, engineers and technicians, hired by the french national center for scientific research (CNRS).

The main topic of LPC is research in experimental particle physics, mostly with the LHC at CERN (ALICE, ATLAS and LHCb experiments), as well as experimental cosmology (LSST experiment), theoretical research in particle physics and applied research in the physics for health and environment department.

In LPC, all members of the AMVA4NewPhysics network are members of the ATLAS collaboration, and the ESR who will be hired will analyse ATLAS data. The ATLAS@LPC team is one of the oldest french ATLAS teams and was actually involved in the design of the LHC experiments even before the ATLAS collaboration existed.

The ATLAS detector during the construction phase. I took this picture in April 2006.

The team has been working on the hadronic tile calorimeter, mostly on its front-end electronics and its calibration system. Concerning physics, the team has specialised in the study of the use of the top quark, the heaviest elementary particle ever found.

Currently, the ATLAS@LPC team contributes significantly to four different physics analyses. The first analysis focuses on the search for the production of a top-quark pair together with a Higgs boson, that would lead to the study of the coupling between the Higgs boson and the top quark.

The other analyses search for new physics phenomena in events containing top quarks: search for new particles that would decay into one (W’ or heavy charged scalar boson to top-antibottom) or two top quarks (Z’ or heavy neutral scalar boson to top-antitop), search for new physics phenomena (extra spatial dimensions, production of heavy scalar bosons) that would produce four top quarks in the same event.

In close connection to these searches, two members of the AMVA4NewPhysics network have been part of the team that developed a software tool for computing limits on poissonian process rates using a hybrid frequentist-bayesian CLs method, OpTHyLiC.