by Anna Stakia

Just some words about myself, as a first acquaintance!

Well, to begin with, I am from Athens, Greece. Despite the fact that my interest in Physics already started in an early form at a very young age, I pursued my undergraduate studies at the School of Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECE) at the National Technical University of Athens (NTUA), since computer programming was my second major field of interest.

Nevertheless, even within my engineering studies, I was given the opportunity not only to broaden my knowledge on Physics by attending various Mechanics/Electromagnetism classes, but also to work in depth on several modern physics problems. Both finally acted as a catalyst for this science to hold even greater academic interest for me. At the same time, the Computer Software/Hardware/Networks courses I attended helped me build a  Computer Science background, as well.

I then attended the MSc program in Nuclear and Elementary Particle Physics at the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens (NKUA), which consolidated my scientific interest in Physics, and established Particle Physics as my major academic direction. My Master’s Thesis on searches for Supersymmetry gave me the opportunity to work on recent problems in experimental High Energy Physics, in the search for phenomena which experimentally prove the existence of Physics beyond the Standard Model.

In this thesis, the Supersymmetry indication possibility in areas of compressed mass spectra is studied, in a search which is based on the combined information from the data collected by the CMS detector at a center-of-mass energy of 8 TeV, and from their Monte Carlo simulation. Moreover, the efficiency of the choice criteria of the High Level Trigger at the new higher center-of-mass energy of 13 TeV is studied, with the aim to optimize the analysis at the current data collection period at the LHC.

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Fig 1 : Large Hadron Collider at CERN

To sum up, the undergraduate studies at the Technical University provided me with a combination of mathematical and technical skills which would have allowed going on in multiple scientific directions. And also the MSc studies at the Physics Department offered me the necessary academic supplies to build up my abilities in physics and supported my initial inclination towards this subject, leading me finally to pursue the direction of experimental High Energy Physics.

I currently have the honour of having been assigned the ESR position within the “Marie Sklodowska-Curie Actions” Innovative Training Network AMVA4NewPhysics, at CERN, in the Experimental Physics Department of the CMS experiment at the LHC, whilst working towards my PhD. This position contains the chance of gaining knowledge on Supersymmetry/Dark Matter searches combined with getting trained in the use of various MultiVariate Analysis methods.

Without a doubt, the above constitutes a unique, multi-sided opportunity for a young scientist, providing a wide range of research and training benefits throughout the corresponding programme, which by the way includes both academic and non-academic parts.

I would be really glad to share with every one of you, the enthusiastic readers of this blog, the basic steps taken during this whole procedure, and especially keep you updated on the highlights encountered throughout this exciting journey!

So, see you soon!

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Fig 2 : A small fraction of the CMS Collaboration together with a 1:1 scale photograph of the CMS detector, inside Building 40

Figures taken from http://cms.web.cern.ch