Young South African researchers take leading roles at the ATLAS experiment collaboration of CERN

Young South African researchers take leading roles at the ATLAS experiment collaboration of CERN

Every year, the large LHC collaborations such as the ATLAS Experiment  organise an internal overview session that is attended by the entire collaboration spanning 243 institutes from 41 countries, including South Africa.

Ryan Mckenzie has been chosen to undertake the  roles of deputy run-coordinator and then run-coordinator of the ATLAS Hadronic Tile calorimeter. The roles span 8 months from 1 September 2022 up until the 30th of April 2023 and encompass the control and management of the entire sub-detector including the co-ordination of over one hundred physicists, engineers and technicians. The importance of this role cannot be underestimated as ATLAS will be undertaking RUN-III data taking during Ryan’s tenure.

Edward Nkadimeng was appointed by the management of the Tile Calorimeter of the ATLAS experiment at CERN to lead the team for the LVPS project. Edward leads  a community of physicists and engineers from the US and Europe. This international team will be delivering on critical electronics for the upgrade of the TIle Calorimeter of the ATLAS detector.

The two Wits University researchers were also invited to chair sessions in the 2021 and 2022 cycles of the ATLAS collaboration Week themed “Getting Ready for Run 3”. The collider has started up its proton beams again at unprecedented energy levels after going through a three-year shutdown for maintenance and upgrades. 

Ryan Mckenzie, a postgraduate student at the  High-throughput Electronics Laboratory within the Institute for Collider Particle Physics (ICPP), chaired a session in 2021 focusing on the latest physics developments of the ATLAS collaboration as well as ongoing detector research amongst numerous other topics. The session which Ryan successfully chaired covered the ATLAS Phase-II upgrade which is to commence in the year 2025 and is focused on preparing the ATLAS detector for the next energy frontier being ushered in by the High Luminosity-LHC

“This event forms a key aspect of what allows the collaboration to span the entire globe and was truly a joy to behold. It was an honour to be selected to fulfil this role, I eagerly look forward towards further contributions made by South Africa.”- Says Ryan Mckenzie

Edward Nkadimeng, an ICPP researcher, who also convenes the Low Voltage Power Supply working group that is expected to provide critical electronics for the Tile Calorimeter will on Tuesday (21 June 2022) chair the collaboration meeting to review specific tasks. These tasks include: detector operations, online data selection and processing, data monitoring, calibration and reconstruction, physics analysis, and the upgrade of the detector to the next stages of the experiment. All these tasks are linked, and their results, including any concerns, are reported in dedicated ATLAS Week sessions.

“I am humbled by the recognition given the significance of being invited to chair a session at the ATLAS experiment’s overview week at CERN. This is, of course, a result of the world-class contribution and the international leadership of Wits University in the field of particle physics. “ – Says Edward Nkadimeng

The SA-CERN programme contribution to the Phase-II upgrade takes the form of high-tech power supplies which provide power to the Tile Calorimeter of the ATLAS detector. These electronic components will be produced locally thereby illustrating the world class ability of the South African electronics industry.  The SA-CERN program is also supported by the Department of Science and Innovation and it is hosted by iThemba LABS of the National Research Foundation.

“We are really proud that young South African scientists have grown to become leaders of our global community,” says Bruce Mellado, Director of the ICPP and senior researcher at iThemba LABS.

ATLAS Collaborating countries
Ryan Mckenzie beneath the ATLAS detector
Edward Nkadimeng         
Low Voltage Power Supply Brick
Edward Nkadimeng chairing the session during the ATLAS week 21 June 2022 at the Main Auditorium.
Edward Nkadimeng chairing the session during the ATLAS week 21 June 2022
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