New CMS management: catching the Higgs (or non-Higgs)

CMS, one of the two gigantic international collaborations running experiments at the LHC, has recently appointed its new management. The new spokesperson and his two deputies are well aware of the pressure associated with holding such high positions during such a historic time for particle physics. Although their focus is on the Higgs, they anticipate that other areas of CMS’ multi-purpose research programme might become equally as intriguing this year.


With around 4,300 active members representing every continent and the task of uncovering some of the deepest mysteries of the Universe, CMS is constantly under the spotlight. The pressure is on to ensure the high performance of the detector while providing solutions for extremely accurate but quick data analysis. “The LHC machine is setting the pace for CMS,” explains Joseph Incandela from UC Santa Barbara/CERN, the new CMS spokesperson. “The 2012 run will most probably go to a higher energy and intensity. The detector will face tougher pile-up conditions, and our teams have been working hard to ensure that everything works as expected when the LHC resumes operation a few weeks from now.”

Going to higher luminosity is a big technical challenge for the experiment but it’s not worried concern that we observe in Incandela’s look. Rather, he looks “happily challenged” and content to be leading what he calls “a fantastic collaboration” at this historic moment in time. “In 2012 we will focus on solving the Higgs “to-be or not-to-be” dilemma,” says Joao Varela from LIP Portugal, one of the two new CMS deputy spokespersons. “However, we will also have much improved tools to look for supersymmetric particles. Last year, some people were saying that the experiments had ruled out supersymmetry. This is not true. This year’s higher collision energy will vastly increase the probability of creating massive supersymmetric particles, in particular the s-top.”

Interesting results are also likely to come from the 2011 ion-ion data analysis and from the new proton-ion run planned for 2012. “The heavy-ion community at CMS is relatively small but they are miracle workers,” says Tiziano Camporesi, CERN, the other of the two new CMS deputy spokespersons. “The whole CMS community has benefited from their achievements, for example at the level of event reconstruction. Some of these techniques are proving particularly useful now that the event pile-up is increasing.”

In a collaboration that sees a couple of new institutes joining its contingent every year, emphasis is also placed on the training of the new generations of physicists. “It is really important to develop a new generation of young scientists who will be able to deal with detector-related issues and, at the same time, perform the data analysis. Being an experimentalist today is a challenging job that involves many different skills,” underlines Joao.

The CMS management is looking forward to starting the new run. “2012 could be the annus mirabilis of particle physics. We are fortunate because we have highly professional collaborators capable of fixing huge problems in many different areas. Please write that they are all fantastic,” concludes Tiziano. Delivered as requested!

Credits: Produced by Achintya Rao. Copyright CERN, for the benefit of the CMS Collaboration (2012).

by Antonella del Rosso