Particle hunt: looking for rare and invisible


Event details

Date 27.02.2023 15:1515:55  
Speaker Prof. Lesya Shchutska, High Energy Physics Laboratory, EPFL 
Category Inaugural lectures - Honorary Lecture
Event Language English

15:15   Prof. Lesya Shchustska
15:55   Prof. Victor Gorbenko
16:35   Prof. Mike Seidel

We build and use large experiments at CERN to study the laws of nature at a great precision and detail. Pushing the boundaries of our knowledge comes with two approaches: measurements of known processes with a goal to compare with theoretical expectations, and searches for new processes not predicted by currently accepted standard model of particle physics. 
As in both cases we often look into very rare or not yet observed processes, we need to squeeze available data at the verge of detector capabilities: make the detector work for what it was not designed initially.
In the lecture I show how we make it happen and constrain the parameters of new theories beyond the standard model. 

Scientific path in particle physics started for Lesya Shchutska during undergraduate studies within the LHCb experiment group at the Institute for Theoretical and Experimental Physics (ITEP). Then, during her PhD with Prof. Tatsuya Nakada as a supervisor, she worked on developing a new detector for a balloon-borne experiment, graduating from EPFL in 2012. Exploring new ways for new physics searches, and especially for dark matter particle searches, Lesya joined the CMS experiment at the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) by coming to the University of Florida, and later to the ETH Zürich, and concentrated her research on looking for supersymmetric particles decaying to leptons. In addition, she worked on the R&D for the future fixed target facility at 
CERN – SHiP (Search for Hidden Particles).
Lesya's main research interest lies in a future discovery of new particles, as e.g. dark matter nature, the sizeable matter-antimatter asymmetry and the neutrino masses are not predicted by the standard model of particle physics. One of the most elegant and compelling extensions of the standard model was proposed by Prof. Mikhail Shaposhnikov at EPFL. This theory already inspired the design of new facilities at CERN, and led many experimentalists to hunt for heavy neutrinos – invisible and noninteracting siblings of very light standard model neutrinos. With an ERC Starting Grant, Lesya Shchutska is now looking for the signs of these particles in the huge dataset delivered by the LHC. 
Joining EPFL, Lesya came back to the LHCb Collaboration at CERN at the most exciting times, when the LHCb detector has undergone a major upgrade and is set to collect a dataset, which is an order of magnitude larger than currently available. Lesya’s group is actively pursuing both precision measurements of the rare decays of B mesons as well as searches for long-lived heavy neutrinos or other new particles produced in the decays of B mesons, a task almost impossible in other experiments. 


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  • Institut de Physique


  • Valérie Schaerer Businger