How would you spend a grant from our fund? Jacco de Vries, Assistant Professor of Physics at the Faculty of Science and Engineering, received funding in 2019. He shares his experiences in a short report.
Jacco: ‘‘Fundamental physics research at Maastricht University started in 2018. An example is the LHCb experiment, in which I am involved and which studies the forces of nature – electromagnetic, strong and weak – at the smallest scales and highest energies. You can see the LHCb detector in the picture. Since 2018, research groups and projects of the Maastricht Science Programme and the Department of Knowledge Engineering have seen a strong growth. With that expansion, the demand for a proper computing infrastructure to run data analysis projects grew as well.’’
‘‘With the funding made available by the University Fund Limburg/SWOL, we were able to make a shared purchase of a server node in the Data Science Research Infrastructure computing cluster at UM. As a result, the necessary computing resources, software and data are readily available now to students and staff, in the form of Jupyter Notebooks.’’
More about the LCHb experiment
‘‘One of our many projects is on improving the reconstruction of electrons in LHCb with the help of modern machine learning tools. One of the most tantalising hints of the existence new fundamental particles comes from the so-called ‘flavour anomalies’. These new particles show themselves in a different decay rate of so-called B-mesons to muons, versus the same decay to electrons. One of the most challenging aspects of measuring these decay rates is the reconstruction of electrons: because they are so light they lose a lot of energy when traversing the material of the LHCb detector – so-called “Bremsstrahlung”. With the help of a neural network, we showed that we can improve upon the recovery of this Bremsstrahlung using LHCb’s electromagnetic calorimeter data, making the distribution more symmetric and decreasing the momentum resolution of electrons in LHCb.’’
You can find more informatie about the University Fund Limburg/SWOL and its grants for UM staff members and students on: www.ufl-swol.nl/en.