The EDIT school trains future experts in detector technologies

The Excellence in Detectors and Instrumentation Technologies (EDIT) School has just taken place for the first time. The enthusiastic feedback from the organizers and the participants shows how the School’s format is just the right formula for today’s young researchers specializing in experimental physics. To mark the importance of the event, Rolf Heuer dedicated the School to Georges Charpak.


Rolf Heuer and Pier Oddone visit Building 154, which hosted some of the EDIT School laboratory activities.

Like many other branches of science, today’s particle physics relies on very complex instruments to provide the performance that unresolved questions require. When we say ‘particle physics’ we actually mean a whole lot of different specializations that young researchers choose to pursue when they are at university. “In the present situation, it might very well happen that an experimental particle physicist at the end of his/her studies has never actually seen or worked with a real detector. On the other hand, he or she might be highly specialized in data analysis and interpretation,” says Ariella Cattai, a senior physicist in the ATLAS Collaboration and Director of the EDIT School. To fill this gap, the EDIT School aims to provide young researchers with a deeper knowledge of the technologies used in the field of detectors and instrumentation. 

The School combines lectures with hands-on laboratory activities in six different fields of detector and instrumentation techniques. The subjects covered include calorimetry, electronics, gaseous detectors, detection of scintillation and Cherenkov light from crystals and fibres, photodetection, silicon strips and pixel detectors. “The School's rich programme was made possible by the dedication and professionalism of the School conveners and the combined efforts of all the 100 experts who tutored the 90 students,” says Ariella Cattai. Tutors came from various Member State institutes, as well as Fermilab and, of course, CERN. Students came from 24 countries, underlining the high level of interest in the School among the physics community

EDIT 2011 took place over two weeks, from 31 January to 10 February. Before leaving CERN, the participants conveyed their enthusiastic appreciation to the School organizers. “It was very rewarding for all of us to receive such positive feedback,” says Ariella Cattai. “One of the messages we received reads as follows: What I learned at EDIT2011 will be very useful for the development of my career. And most of all it was a very touching experience to experience the INTELLECTUAL HONESTY of teachers and tutors.

"I was extremely impressed with the way the EDIT school was set up to offer one-on-one tuition in detector technologies,” said Director-General Rolf Heuer, who opened the School and dedicated it to Georges Charpak. “This is particularly important today, when the long time-scales of experiments mean that young particle physicists can go through all their graduate studies without direct hands-on detector experience. CERN has a long tradition of innovation in detector technologies, with Georges Charpak being a clear leading light in the field. It was therefore a pleasure to dedicate this School to his memory." And he was echoed by Pier Oddone, Director of Fermilab, who said: “I am hugely impressed with EDIT. The quality of the tutors, the state-of-the-art teaching set-ups and the intensity of the workshops with one tutor per student is astounding. I wanted to join the School right there and then. It is a fantastic opportunity for young scientists and engineers, and the old ones could also learn a thing or two."

The School proved so popular among all the participants that the organizers are planning a second one. Be ready to sign up!


by CERN Bulletin