At CERN, MIT junior TJ Wilkason used data from the first run of the Large Hadron Collider to search for dark matter, large extra dimensions, and other exotic theories of physics. Working under the supervision of a senior MIT research scientist, TJ contributed by writing code that would compare LHC data to simulated events in order to find discrepancies that would point to possibilities of new physics.
TJ also worked on the upgrade of the CMS detector, helping improve the rate at which the detector could process and store data. TJ helped by installing new bundles of fiber cables that significantly increased the speed at which data was transferred from the detector to the surface.
TJ worked in a group that included other MIT scientists and students with the goal of finishing an analysis that could be presented to other scientists in the CMS collaboration.
"Getting to witness how physics research is done firsthand at such an early stage in my career was very formative and will give me a good advantage when I begin doing physics research on my own."
After his summer at CERN, TJ was glad that he was able to work in an environment surrounded by physicists of all ages and nationalities. The experience of working with scientists from around the world will provide him with a new and improved approach to physics research, which will prove advantageous in the future.