A researcher of the IFIC has been awarded a scholarship of the BBVA Foundation for research in physics at LHC
- July 7th, 2017
The IFIC researcher Vasiliki Mitsou has just been awarded one of the Leonardo Grants for Researchers and Cultural Creators given by the BBVA Foundation. This grant will contribute to her scientific work in two experiments of the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) of the CERN, where she will try to find new particles and physical phenomena. Hers is the only Leonardo Grant intended for particle physics research in this year’s edition where more than 2000 applications were registered.
Vasiliki Mitsou, a researcher of the Institute of Corpuscular Physics (IFIC, CSIC-Universitat de València) at the Science Park of the academic institution, has won of one of the Leonardo Grants for Researchers and Cultural Creators that the BBVA Foundation has just awarded in the 2017 call. This grant will contribute to her scientific work in two experiments of the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) of the CERN, where she will try to find new particles and physical phenomena. Hers is the only Leonardo Grant intended for particle physics research in this year’s edition where more than 2000 applications were registered.
The IFIC researcher will use the grant to take advantage of the complementarity of the LHC experiments where she takes part in: ATLAS and MoEDAL. In the latter, she works as president of the Committee for the International Scientific Cooperation. El Institute of Corpuscular Physics is the only Spanish scientific institution that takes part in MoEDAL and the Valencian Government supports its participation.
Her objective is to research in physics great beyond the Standard Model, the theory that describes the particles that compose all we can see in the Universe and its interactions. However, this theory includes less than 5% of cosmos; the rest remain unknown and its understanding is one of the biggest challenges of science.
ATLAS is the greater experiment of LHC, with 25 metres high and 7000 tons of weight. A huge photographic camera as big as a cathedral which takes 40 million photographs per second of the collisions between protons that take place inside it. Among these photographs, scientists expect to find new physics signals, as it happened in 2012 when they discovered the Higgs boson, which is the particle responsible of the elemental particles’ mass and the missing piece to complete the Standard Model. The IFIC contributed to the ATLAS building and it participates in the collaboration of more than 3000 scientists of all the world that controls its functioning and analyses the data.
MoEDAL is a smaller experiment located next to LHCb, other of the detectors of LHC where the IFIC also participates. In contrast to the big experiments of LHC, where data of the most interesting collisions are selected to keep and analyse them, MoEDAL is a ‘passive’ detector where scientists expect to find trace of new particles that are characterised by the high ionization. Among other objectives, MoEDAL finds ‘magnetic monopoles’, a type of particle that would only have a north or south pole (something never before seen in nature).
With the aid of the BBVA Foundation, Vasiliki Mitsou will analyse the data that ATLAS and MoEDAL are obtaining at an energy never before reached in a particle accelerator to explore new models of supersymmetry. This is a theory that suggests the existence of heavier replicas of the known particles. In particular, ATLAS searches a model supersymmetric that would explain how neutrinos, which is one of the most abundant particles of Universe, acquire mass thanks to allow interactions that break the R-parity, one of the supersymmetry hypothesis. Apart from improving the searching of magnetic monopoles in MoEDAL, Mitsou aims to search, for the first time in MoEDAL, metastable charged particles that can be foreseen in supersymmetric models and states of multiple electric charge such as stable double charged Higgs boson.
The Leonardo Grants for Researchers and Cultural Creators of the BBVA Foundation aim at supporting the development of personal projects of researchers and cultural creators in intermediate stages of their career. They should be between 30 and 45 years and have a highly innovative scientific, technological or cultural production. The contribution is endowed with 40000€ for a period between 6 to 18 months. There are at least 55 grants in Basic Science; Biology and Environmental Sciences; Biomedicine; Information Technologies, other Engineering and Architecture; Economy and Business Management, Law and Social Sciences; Humanities; Fine Arts and Digital Art; Music and Opera; and Literary Creation and Theatre.