Chris completes his term at the Large Hadron Collider
Professor Chris Parkes recently completed his term as leader of the Large Hadron Collider beauty (LHCb) experiment.
LHCb is one of the four large experiments at CERN’s 27km Large Hadron Collider, the world’s highest energy particle collider. Chris has been the deputy leader and then leader of the international collaboration for the past six years, during which time, the collaboration has grown to include over 1100 scientists from institutions in 21 different countries.
In his time leading the team, the collaboration published 300 scientific papers, including the observation of new types of matter anti-matter asymmetry and the discovery of 34 new particles. The collaboration has constructed, installed and started operating its second generation detector, the LHCb Upgrade I, at a hardware cost of £60M. Critical elements of this new detector - modules of the silicon pixel vertex detector - were built right here at the University.
Chris and the Manchester particle physics group also hosted the initial meeting in 2016 for the next-generation project that will succeed LHCb. This £150M next-generation detector for the 2030s - the LHCb Upgrade II - received its first stage approval last year under Chris’s leadership.
“It's a privilege to have had the opportunity to lead the LHCb collaboration for the past years, and the collaboration has shown what can be achieved with people from across the world working openly together in pursuit of common goals”.
The last three years has not been an easy period. The logistics for constructing a new detector at institutions across the world, and then installing it at CERN, were complex to begin with - and during the pandemic required many changes in plans. The collaboration also includes scientists from four institutes in Ukraine, which have had their lives greatly affected by the war, as buildings in Kharkiv and Kyiv have been damaged. The collaboration includes scientists from eleven institutions in Russia, many of whom were strongly opposed to the war.
However, despite these challenges, the collaboration has continued to thrive, publishing world-leading science and starting operations of its new detector system. The final element of the new Upgrade I detector system was installed in March this year, and the latest results from the collaboration, released earlier this month, provide the world-best measurements of key parameters that quantify the difference in behaviour of matter and antimatter inside the fundamental theory of particle physics.
“It's a privilege to have had the opportunity to lead the LHCb collaboration for the past years” said Chris, “and the collaboration has shown what can be achieved with people from across the world working openly together in pursuit of common goals”.