Attention: You are using an outdated browser, device or you do not have the latest version of JavaScript downloaded and so this website may not work as expected. Please download the latest software or switch device to avoid further issues.

News > Old Girl in Focus > Katie Piper studies particles to help answer questions about the universe

Katie Piper studies particles to help answer questions about the universe

17 May 2022
United Kingdom | Switzerland
Old Girl in Focus
Katie Piper at CERN
Katie Piper at CERN

In 2020 I completed my Bachelor's degree in Mathematics and Physics at the University of Surrey, and last year, I finished my Master's degree in Physics at the University of Leeds. I found the topics I learned about at university extremely fascinating, which has made me want to know more and I’m now doing a PhD in Experimental Particle Physics.

For my PhD, I am working on the ATLAS experiment at The European Organisation for Nuclear Research (CERN). At CERN, in The Large Hadron Collider (LHC), beams of particles are accelerated close to the speed of light and then collide at the centre of the ATLAS detector. These collisions cause new particles to form, which fly out from the collision point in many different directions. We can then study these new particles to help answer fundamental questions about the universe!

My own work currently involves two main things. Firstly, I am part of a team analysing data to try and find a particle known as a 'Heavy Neutral Lepton'. My other main task focuses on software for the part of the detector responsible for filtering through all the collisions and deciding which we should save data on. Although up to 1.7 billion collisions a second could happen in the detector, only some of these may contain interesting physics. In September 2022, I will be moving to Geneva in Switzerland (where CERN is based) for a year as part of my PhD. Whilst living there, I will be able to work shifts in the ATLAS experiment control room, which will be very exciting.

Similar stories

Laura Harrison (OG 1997-2004)

Laura is at the forefront of global yachting trends and offers insight into marine industry growth. More...

Amy Formstone (OG 1998-2005)

Retrieve - one of the first Adult Critical Care Transfer services in the country More...

Global Health and Wellness Programme Manager, Nicola Ross (OG 1995-2000)

We hear how Nicola has created a new role that incorporates travel, creativity and career development More...

A Wingfield family business

Everything fell into place for the Wingfields during the pandemic and they now have a thriving family-run business More...

OG Phoebe Kenny, 26, modelling her silk scarf

Phoebe Kenny (OG 2006-2011) explains the process of creating beautiful silk scarves to last a lifetime. More...

Most read

Class of 1996 celebrating in style

Whether it was the magician, the three course meal or the fireworks that made the night, it certainly was a night to remember. Let's hear about the sm… More...

Magda Salvesen next to a Jon Schueler painting, holding her award, 2021

Magda brushes off the competition and wins Old Girl of the Year Award 2021 for her dedication to the curation of Jon Schueler's artistic works. More...

Diana Brooks née Thomas (OG 1972-1977)

Congratulations to Diana Brooks for winning the Old Girl of the Year Award 2020. Caroline Trotter, former class friend, tells us why Diana had to be t… More...

Have your say

This website is powered by