Adam Ruby successfully passes his PhD viva

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Dr Adam Ruby

On 2nd June Dr Adam Ruby successfully defended his PhD thesis titled “Searches for Axion-Like Particles in Rare Higgs Boson Decays with the ATLAS Detector”.

Adam’s PhD presented a search for the decay of the Higgs boson into a Z boson and a light, pseudoscalar known as an axion-like particle (ALP). ALPs are particles that, if they exist, may play a role in explaining some unknown phenomena of the Standard Model, such as the strong CP-problem. ALPs are also a good dark matter candidate as they are thought to interact less frequently with matter. The analysis was performed using 3 year's worth of data collected using the ATLAS detector, a general-purpose detector that measures particles produced in high energy proton-proton collisions at the Large Hadron Collider at CERN. A major challenge was faced from the fact that for some ALP mass values the photon pair that the ALP decays into are produced very close together and as such the resolution of the detector fails to distinguish them both separately. Adam and the rest of the analysis team that includes Liverpool’s Nikolaos Rompotis, Adam’s supervisor, and Cristiano Sebastiani were able to use electromagnetic shower shape variables to classify the signal from a sizeable amount of background events. The analysis covered a parameter space region for the ALP mass largely untouched by previous experiments.

Adam celebrating his PhD.

As a LIV.DAT student Adam helped with showcasing the importance of data science in physics at an international symposium as well as representing the department at multiple Alan Turing Institute events. Outside of physics, he also helped with Liverpool city region’s COVID-19 response by producing data visualisations from public data. This included keeping track of new variants of the virus, with the work even mentioned in the Liverpool ECHO.

Using data science techniques Adam has picked up throughout his PhD and as a LIV.DAT student, he has now started a new role as a Data Science Assistant Manager at KPMG. Here, Adam hopes to use Artificial Intelligence to aid the quality and efficiency of the auditing process.

He says he has thoroughly enjoyed his time in Liverpool and will miss the department greatly.

Congratulations, Adam!