Pekka K. Sinervo, FRSC

Brief CV

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). 

Full CV: March 2016  Brief CV: March 2016

Research Interests

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.


I have taught the following courses:

Recent Talks

The following is a selection of recent talks I have given:

Recent Manuscripts

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:

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. 

Graduate Students

I'm currently not primary supervisor for any students (but am looking!). The following are some of my former doctoral students:

Prof. Pekka Sinervo

Prof. Pekka Sinervo

Experimental High Energy Physics

Telephone: (416) 978-5270
Fax: (416) 978-8221