Who are you? Can you tell us something about yourself?

I'm Valeria Muccifora, I'm senior researcher of the INFN Frascati laboratory and  presently I'm the deputy Director of this laboratory.  I started my research activity in this lab, in the study of the nuclear effects in photoabsorption and photofission. Later on I worked in this field in other laboratories: Bonn and Jefferson laboratory in USA.

Since '94 I  worked at Desy laboratory in Hamburg, where I focused my research activity in the field of the nucleon spin structure and mainly in the study of the nuclear effect in deep inelastic scattering process.

Presently my research activity is focused on the study of the property of the Quark Gluon Plasma in the ALICE experiment at CERN laboratory and I has been the spokesperson of the project named JETCAL  in  Hadron Physics 2 and presently I'm the spokesperson of the project named Di-JETCAL  in  Hadron Physics 3.

You are leading an activity within the HP3 project  ? which are the scientifically exciting aspects of your research project?

First of all I have to briefly introduce that one of the primary goals of the ALICE experiment is to create matter as it would have been at the birth of the Universe.

The new accelerator LHC at CERN is providing heavy-ion collisions (specifically lead-lead) at the highest energies ever achieved, thus making it possible to explore this new state of matter named the Quark Gluon Plasma.

The study of the properties of the Quark Gluon Plasma will allow to answers to fundamental and very exciting questions:

What happens to matter when it is heated to 100.000 (one-hundred thousand) times the temperature at the centre of the Sun ?

Why do protons and neutrons weigh 100 (one-hundred) times more than the quarks they are made of?

Can the quarks inside the protons and neutrons be freed?

One of the most  clear signal characterizing the Quark Gluon Plasma is related to the property of the jets. Jets are collimated spray of particle that are produced in all types of high energy collisions. When jets are formed and propagated in a plasma they loose  part of their energy so that they are quenched compared to the proton-proton collisions case.

ALICE is the only LHC experiment expressly designed for high performance in the environment of high-energy heavy ion collisions, where a single lead–lead collision can generate some 50.000 (fifty thousand) individual particles.  But the baseline design of the ALICE detector did not include a large-area electromagnetic  calorimeter, which is essential for the study of jet quenching. Thus, one of the goal of this activity is the development and construction of large electromagnetic calorimeters that provide ALICE with a measurement of neutral particles in the jets which are not seen by ALICE's charged-particle tracking system, together with a fast trigger for the measurements of the jets. In addition these electromagnetic calorimeters are positioned back-to-back in order to make possible di-jet, g-jet and hadron-jet correlation measurements.

So the acronym Di- JETCAL stays for electromagnetic calorimeter for di-jet quenching study.

Who are the participants to your project?

In Di-JETCAL activity participates The Istituto Nazionale di Fisica Nucleare (INFN) with 2 teams (Frascati and Catania), The Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS) with 2 teams , and the Universidate de Santiago de Compostela.

This last institute is developing the theoretical predictions and computational methods for jet quenching, while the first two institutes developed the calorimeter detector the fast trigger and readout, and analysis techniques for the complete jet reconstruction.

One fundamental aspect of this project is the interplay between experimentalists and theorists for developing Monte Carlo simulations and for searching signatures of QGP production.

What do you want to achieve with this activity?

The objective of this activity is threefold:

- Develop concepts and techniques to reach the full jet reconstruction in heavy ion collisions.

- Stimulating synergetic co-operation between experimentalists and theorists for the analysis and the interpretation of the new data and search for signature of Quark Gluon Plasma.

- Create links between the corresponding experimental theoretical and organizational infrastructures in Europe.

This activity requires a synergy of technological and conceptual innovations and theoretical developments and represents a significant steps towards an extensive study of the jets in heavy ion collisions.

In which way your activity could be of benefit for the society?

When significant progress in the fundamental research are achieved there are typically significant benefits for the society.  The development of jet reconstruction techniques and of selective and fast trigger in the case of heavy ion collisions represents really a challenge.

Just to give some number: the collisions which are detected in the central tracking detector of  ALICE occur approximately 200 times per second, and in each collisions about 4000-12000 (between 4 and 12 thousand of) charged particles are created. The High Level Trigger performs a full analysis of those events in real-time and reconstructs all the tracks.

We can imagine the possible applications in the case of fast imaging for diagnostic.

Why do you think  a young person should choose to study science and is there any reason for which should they do so in Europe?

I believe that young person should study science because products of science are used by us in everyday life. Science is becoming more important to individuals every days. Science makes a positive impact on people's life.

Europe offers a rich culture of all the sciences in particular for Physics. We have long tradition in Universities in Laboratories, we have many new programs in the European Laboratories that are at the top level and very exciting programs.

And so my question is reverse: why not Europe?


The HadronPhysics3 project is supported by the European Union
under the 7th Framework Capacities Programme in the area of Research Infrastructures (RI).