Carleton Physics Professor Awarded Killam Research Fellowship

Manuella Vincter, professor of particle physics at Carleton University currently working on the ATLAS project, has received one of just a handful of Killiam Research Fellowships given out each year to researchers across a number of disciplines.

Fellowships are awarded to full professors at Canadian universities and research institutes, who have an outstanding reputation in their area of research. The fellowship provides two years valued at $70,000 a year.

“I am so pleased to see this recognition by the Canada Council for the Arts for a Canadian contribution to the ATLAS physics experiment,” said Vincter. “The ATLAS collaboration consists of nearly 3,000 scientists and students from around the world and receiving this award provides tangible support for this paradigm of large-scale international collaborative efforts to solve the big questions in science.”

On a personal level, I am absolutely thrilled to hear about receiving this fellowship. This sustained support for my research program over a two-year period means that I can immerse myself into solving the more involved issues related to the operation of the ATLAS experiment in this era of precision physics measurements with this new particle, the Higgs boson, whose existence helps elucidate how all matter acquires mass.”

Some of the most exciting potential contributions of ATLAS to the understanding of the universe may well be through discoveries of new unimagined physics. Though the production mechanisms and subsequent decays of these processes may well be exotic, they will fundamentally contain the particles known to exist and interact as predicted by the Standard Model. Therefore, these discoveries of new physics will be impossible to interpret without a clear and precise knowledge of the physics that “should be there.” This is how ATLAS was able to discover the Higgs boson in 2012.

“The work being done by Carleton researchers is international in stature, and the work being done by Vincter at ATLAS is a prime example of that,” says Kim Matheson, vice-president, Research and International at Carleton. “Addressing the big research questions of the day is about team work and excellence. Vincter typifies both characteristics, and is a key player in helping to understand a hugely important question.”

Carleton has a 15-member ATLAS group that includes faculty, research assistants and students. The group’s original involvement included contributing to the construction of detector components that were shipped to CERN about 10 years ago. These were installed in ATLAS and are now producing data along with the other detectors. Carleton team members have also provided crucial contributions to the Higgs analyses.

Vincter’s research addresses both the fundamental interest in better understanding Standard Model processes and the Higgs mechanism at the Large Hadron Collider (LHC), as well as how this correlates with the potential of new physics discoveries beyond the expected. Her work will address truly fundamental questions about the origins of the universe. This fellowship enables a leading Canadian contribution to fundamental science, enhancing the visibility and reputation of Canadian physics on an international stage.

The Canada Council Killam Program was inaugurated in 1981 with a donation by Dorothy Killam in memory of her husband, Izaak Walton Killam. The Killam Research Fellowships, part of the Killam Program, support scholars engaged in research projects of outstanding merit in the humanities, social sciences, natural sciences, health sciences, engineering and interdisciplinary studies within these fields.

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