Congratulations to our former student Rhiannon Jones

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Rhiannon Jones at Liverpool HEP Christmas Meeting, 2019

In recent months, Dr Rhiannon Jones, who most of you will remember as one of our PhD students in Particle Physics just a few years ago, was appointed as a lecturer at the University of Sheffield. We wish to congratulate Rhiannon for her success and we take this opportunity for an interview about the past and the future.

The Short Baseline Near Detector, 2023


Can you tell us in a few sentences about your PhD work, what you did after your PhD and what you do now?

During my PhD at Liverpool, I worked on the Short Baseline Near Detector (SBND), part of the Short Baseline Neutrino (SBN) programme. My focus was on the search for sterile neutrino oscillations and neutrino interactions with argon nuclei. I spent a year out at Fermilab, IL, USA, during the construction phase of SBND and helped with the QA/QC testing of the Anode Plane Assemblies (APAs) for the detector.

After my PhD, I moved to Sheffield as a PDRA and joined the Deep Underground Neutrino Experiment (DUNE). I still plan to contribute to the SBN oscillation searches, but my focus switched to the development of cosmic-ray muon calibration techniques for the DUNE Far Detector and I recently became a convener of the DUNE physics-calibration working group.

Halfway through 2023, I accepted a lectureship at the University of Sheffield, and in October 2023 I began undergraduate teaching and supervising 3rd/4th year project and PhD students. My research path will stay the same for now as I am really excited about SBND’s first data in 2024 and the construction/commissioning phase of the DUNE experiment that is currently underway.

What did you like most about Liverpool?

Liverpool is the place I fell completely in love with the field of particle physics. I met some fantastic students, postdocs and academics involved in all sorts of experiments who helped me survive, and even enjoy, the immense learning curve involved in studying for a HEP PhD.

The physics department is awesome, I had (and took) so many incredible opportunities during the PhD thanks to the support of the HEP group. The city is an amazing place to live, even during a global pandemic…


What are you going to teach this year at Sheffield?

This year I’m teaching first year undergraduate tutorials in the first semester and I’ll take on the neutrino portion of the fourth year ‘Advanced Particle Physics’ module in the second semester. In addition, I am supervising a few BSc, MSc and PhD students who will be working on various neutrino-related projects. It should be fun!


What advice would you give to someone doing their PhD now?

My advice would be to take every opportunity that comes your way and make sure that when you find something you love to work on, you stick it out to see where you can take it. Don’t be afraid to dabble in a few different areas of the field and find where your passion really lies. If you do a few things really well they can look great on your CV even if they don’t make it into your thesis. Finally, ask for help if you are struggling!