Pekka K. Sinervo, FRSC
B.Sc., University of Toronto (1980); Ph.D., Stanford University, USA, (1986). Postdoctoral Researcher, University of Pennsylvania, USA (1986-1988); Assistant Professor, University of Pennsylvania, USA (1988-1990); Associate Professor, University of Toronto (1990); Professor, University of Toronto (1995-); Rutherford Memorial Medal and Prize (1996), Royal Society of Canada; Chair, Department of Physics (1997-2000); Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada (1999); Vice-Dean, Research Infrastructure and Graduate Education, Faculty of Arts and Science (2000-2002); Vice-Dean, Academic, Faculty of Arts and Science (2003); Fellow of the American Physical Society (2004); Dean, Faculty of Arts and Science (2004-2008); Rosi and Max Varon Visiting Professor, Weizmann Institute of Science (2008-2009); Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (2012); Senior Vice-President, Research, Canadian Institute for Advanced Research (2009-2015).
I am working to understand the basic building blocks of our universe, and the forces that cause them to interact and create the complex structures that we see as atoms, molecules, and more macroscopic objects. In the past several decades, the Standard Model of the electroweak and strong forces has become the theory that appears to successfully describe the matter around us, and provides an excellent description of the electromagnetic, weak and strong forces. My research tests this model by studying particle interactions at very high energies.
My work today is focused on measurements at the Large Hadron Collider, where we are able to collide particles together at the highest energies possible. I am a member of the ATLAS Toronto group, the largest Canadian group working on the ATLAS experiment with over two dozen members. We are also members of the ATLAS collaboration, an intimate and collegial group of 3,000 of our closest colleagues. Together, we have built the ATLAS detector, and use it to record the 13 TeV proton-proton collisions created by the LHC.
My work from 1986 to about 2008 was focused on similar sorts of collisions created by the Fermilab Tevatron Collider, but at a lower energy of 2 TeV and recorded by the CDF detector.
I have particularly interested in the top quark, the heaviest known particle. My group was involved in its discovery, and has participated in many of the measurements of its properties. We are now using the top quark as a tool to search for evidence of new, very massive particles that preferentially decay to top quark pairs. This work is currently using ATLAS data.
The Standard Model has many "holes" in it -- it doesn't tell us what Dark Matter is, it doesn't help us understand gravity, it doesn't tell us why there are so many different types of quarks and leptons, and it doesn't tell us why we appear to live in a matter-dominated universe. I'd like to fill in answers to some of these fundamental questions, and hope to do so using data we will collect with ATLAS over the next several years.
Detector R & D
My hardware interests have been data acquisition technologies for hadron collider detectors, digital front-end electronics systems, and off-line software development. Much of this work is performed in close collaboration with groups in Canada and the US with similar interests.
I have been also been involved in the development of pixel detectors for the ATLAS detector, the development of a precision positioning system for tracker detectors and the construction and calibration of calorimeters, which measure the energy of the particles produced in the collisions we record.
Statistical Techniques in Particle Physics
I have been involved in the development and use of advanced statistical techniques in particle physics, with particular emphasis on multivariate analyses and setting confidence intervals.
I wrote a report describing the statistical techniques used to make the most precise estimate of the top quark production cross section. I have also written a review article on the use of "significance" in particle physics analyses.
My earlier work involved the development of the SLAC/LBL Partial Wave Analysis system (see my thesis for more details!) and the first searches for the top quark on this side of the Atlantic.
- PHY1600S: Effective Communication for Scientists. This course is intended for any graduate student interested in becoming a better scientific writer and presenter. Students in the course work in a seminar-style environment to develop stronger writing skills and presentation techniques, using an approach that emphasizes practice and constructive feedback.
- PHY479: Research Projects Course. I coordinate this course, and organize a series of modules for senior UG students.
PHY2407S: Hard-Scattering in Hadron-Hadron Collisions: Physics and Anatomy. This is an advanced graduate course intended for first and second year graduate students interested in learning about the details of how we understand and model the complete hard-scattering processing in hadron-hadron collisions, offered in spring 2017.
Experimental Particle Physics, spring 2013. This courses gives an introduction to particle accelerator techniques and the fundamentals of particle detection and identification.
Advanced Electromagnetism, fall 2010. This course is an advanced course on Electromagnetism, using the classic text of the same name by J.D.Jackson.
Prior to getting involved in academic administration, I taught numerous undergraduate courses and was responsible for the organisation of the Physics Olympiad Preparation Programme ( POPTOR), which helps prepare Ontario high school students to excel in the Canadian and International Physics Olympiad.
The following is a selection of recent talks I have given:
- ATLAS Progress in Boosted Top Quark Physics (pdf), Talk given at Tel Aviv University and Technion University, Israel, 14-16 Dec 2015.
- Recent LHC Results: Beyond the SM with Boost (pdf), Talk given at Boost2013, Flagstaff, AZ, 12 Aug 2013.
- CMS and ATLAS Searches for Exotics States with Jets (pdf), Talk given at the Beyond Higgs Workshop, Sendai, Japan, 7 Jun 2013.
- Understanding Boosted Objects at CDF and ATLAS (pdf), Talk given the Aspen Center for Physics, 7 Jul 2011.
- Nanotechnology: Is it Safe? (pdf), Talk given at the St. Catharines and District Council of Women, 11 Feb 2010
- TRIUMF Summer School Lectures on Top Physics (pdf), Lectures at the TRIUMF Summer School, Jul 2009
- TRIUMF Summer School Lectures on Top Physics (ppt), Lectures at the TRIUMF Summer School -- powerpoint format, Jul 2009
- Systematic Uncertainties: Principles and Practice, Weizmann Institute of Science, Dec 2008
- Weighty Matter: The Top Quark and Its Mass, Cornell University (Jan 2006)
- Emerging Top Results from CDF II, Physics Institute Colloquium, University of Bonn (Feb 2004) (PowerPoint here!)
- Search for Truth: The Mysteries of the Top Quark, St. Mary's University (Mar 2003)
- Status of the Toronto Physics Parallel Computing Centre, University of Toronto (Oct 2002)
- Statistical Significance in High-Energy Physics Experiments , Invited Talk given at the Conference on Advanced Statistical Techniques in High-Energy Physics, Durham, England (Mar 2002).
- 2001 CAP Lecture: The Discovery of the Top Quark, Trent University (Mar 2001).
- Search for the Higgs at the Tevatron, Invited plenary talk at the SUSY-Higgs Workshop, Orsay, France (Mar 2001).
- What We Know About Truth, Invited talk at the Western Regional Conference on Nuclear and Particle Physics (Feb 2000).
- Role of Calorimetry in Top Physics, Presentation at CALOR 99, University of Lisbon, Portugal (Jun 1999).
- Top Quark Properties, HEP seminar on top quark properties, Carleton University (Feb 1999).
Most of my peer-reviewed publications are multi-authored papers where I have had secondary or tertiary roles. The following are a subset of the more recent papers that I have been a primary author, typically in collaboration with one of my students or postdoctoral fellows:
- Search for resonances decaying into top-quark pairs using fully hadronic decays in pp collisions with ATLAS at sqrt(s) = 7 TeV, This was the first search for resonances decaying into top-quark pairs, where the top quarks decayed into two massive jets of hadrons. JHEP 1301 (2013) 116.
- Studies of high-transverse momentum jet substructure and top quarks produced in 1.96 TeV proton-antiproton collisions, The first study of high transverse-momentum jet substructure, as well as a search for very energetic top quarks, with data collected by the CDF Collaboration on 1.96 TeV proton-antiproton collisions. Physical Review D 91, 032006 (2015).
- First Measurement of the Fraction of Top Quark Pair Production Through Gluon Fusion, A first measurement of the rate by which top quarks are produced via the collision and fusion of two gluons (as opposed to quarks). Physical Review D 78, 111101 (2008).
- Top quark mass measurement using the template method in the lepton+jets channel at CDF II, A detailed report of the method we developed to measure top quark masses using the known mass of the W boson to set the energy scale of the jets in the final state. Physical Review D 73, 032003 (2006).
- Precision Top-Quark Mass Measurement in the Lepton+Jets Topology in p-pbar Collisions at Sqrt(s)=1.96 TeV , Physical Review Letter describing the world's most precise top quark mass measurement to date. Phys. Rev. Lett. 96, 022004 (2006).
- Definition and Treatment of Systematic Uncertainties in Particle Physics and Astrophysics , Review talk given at PHYSTAT2003, Stanford University (2003).
- Measurement of the Top Quark Pt Distribution , Physical Review Letter on the first measurement of the Top Quark transverse momentum distribution (2001).
- The Search for a W' Boson via the Decay W' -> mu nu_mu in 1.8 TeV p-pbar Collisions, Physical Review Letter on a search for a W' boson (1999).
- Top Studies at Hadron Colliders, writeup of a set of lectures given at the 1995 SLAC Summer Institute (May 1996).
- ``Measurement of the Top Quark Pt Distribution,'' F. Abe et al., Phys. Rev. Lett. 87, 102001 (2001).
- ``Search for a W' Boson via the Decay Mode W' --> mu nu in 1.8 TeV Proton-Antiproton Collisions,'' F. Abe et al., Phys. Rev. Lett. 84, 5716-5721 (2000).
- ``Measurement of b Quark Fragmentation Fractions in Proton-Antiproton Collisions at root(s)=1.8 TeV,'' T. Affolder et al., Phys. Rev. Lett. 84, 1663-1668 (2000).
- ``Measurement of the Top Quark Mass with the Collider Detector at Fermilab,'' F. Abe et al., Phys. Rev. Lett. 82, 271 (1999).
- ``Observation of Top Quark Production in Proton-Antiproton Collisions with the Collider Detector at Fermilab,'' F. Abe et al., Phys. Rev. Lett. 74, 2626-2631 (1995).
- ``Evidence for top quark production in pbar-p collisions at sqrt(s) = 1.8 TeV'', F. Abe et al., Phys. Rev. Lett. 73, 225-231 (1994); F. Abe et al., Phys. Rev. D50, 2966-3026 (1994).
- ``A Search for the Top Quark Decaying to a Charged Higgs in pbar-p Collisions at sqrt(s) = 1.8 TeV'', F. Abe et al., Phys. Rev. Lett. 72, 1977-1981 (1994).
Other Links of Potential Interest?
- University of Toronto CDF Group home page.
- Trisha Farooque's Ph.D. dissertation , "Search for Heavy Resonances Decaying to Top Quark Pairs in the Boosted All-hadronic Decay Channel," May 2013.
- Bin Guo's Ph.D. dissertation , "Measurement of the Top Quark Pair Production Cross Section and an In-Situ B-Tagging Efficiency Calibration with ATLAS in pp Collisions at √s = 7 TeV in Dilepton Final States," July 2011.
- Jean-Francois Arguin's Ph.D. dissertation , "Measurement of the Top Quark Mass with In Situ Jet Energy Scale calibration at CDF-II," December 2005.
- Stan Lai's Ph.D. dissertation , "Search for Standard Model Higgs Boson Produced in Association with a Top-Antitop Quark Pair in 1.96 TeV Proton-Antiproton Collisions," September 2006.
- Andrew Robinson's Ph.D. dissertation , "Measurement of the Top Quark PT Distribution," 2000. N.B.: If a 70MB file doesn't suite your fancy, here is a postscript file of the same document that is "only" 5 MB.
I'm not formally supervising any postdoctoral fellows, though working with several in the ATLAS Canada group on specific projects.
- Trisha Farooque, now a postdoctoral fellow at Instit de Fisica d'Altes Energies in Barcelona, Spain.
- Bin Guo, now a manager at RBC in risk analysis and modelling in Toronto, Canada.
- Jean-Francois Arguin, a professor in physics at the Universite de Montreal.
- Shabnaz Pashapour, a freelance management consultant in Toronto, Canada.
- Stan Lai, a professor at the Georg-August-Universitat Gottingen.
- Andrew Robinson, a consultant in the financial and insurance industries.
- Wendy Taylor, a professor at York University.
- Hyunsoo Kim, a professor at Sejong University, Korea.
- Andreas Warburton, a professor at McGill University.
- George Sganos, a computer consultant.