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Research Statement
  • My research is in the field of Particle Physics ( Experiment). By Colliding Matter and Anti-Matter particles and looking at the resulting sub-atomic debris we attempt to understand the fundamental constituents of this universe.
Awards & News
  • UCSD Academic Senate Distinguished Teaching Award: Vivek Sharma
  • Vivek Sharma has raised the caliber of physics education at UCSD through his passion for excellence, his embrace of innovative technology, and his personal commitment to his students and teaching assistants. An experimental high-energy physicist of considerable stature, he was among the earliest faculty to employ the World Wide Web, PowerPoint slides, and streaming video in his courses, and many of his students have reported that these tools opened up new vistas for them. His teaching assistants have praised him for his extraordinary attention to their career prospects, and his colleagues have expressed gratitude for his generous work on behalf of the department, from serving on committees to recruiting top graduate students. One student said simply: Professor Sharma is a giver who puts his students first.

    In recognition of distinguished teaching at the University of California, San Diego, the Academic Senate bestows this award.

    The San Diego Division of the Academic Senate of the University of California Distinguished Teaching Award

    Presented to: Vivek Sharma

  • Physicists Begin Quest for 'Higgs' Particle at European Collider
  • More than two dozen UC San Diego physicists and technicians began their long-awaited quest last week in a research facility below the Swiss-French border to find a hypothetical subatomic particle that they hope will allow them to finally tie together the fundamental forces and particles in nature into one grand theory.
    With cheers, applause and toasts of champagne, hundreds of physicists at CERN, the European Organization for Nuclear Research near Geneva, successfully collided beams of protons, moving in opposite directions at close to the speed of light, with an energy greater than has ever been produced before on Earth.
    From the millions of subatomic particle collisions in this newly constructed collider, known as the Large Hadron Collider, or LHC, the scientists hope to generate tiny fireballs of pure energy, from which new particles never before seen on Earth emerge. That should provide them with clues to improve on and go beyond their basic theory of nature--what they call the Standard Model.
    "It's taken us 25 years to build," Vivek Sharma, a physics professor at UCSD now working at CERN, said of the LHC in a news conference last week that was reported in newspapers, magazines and broadcasts worldwide. "This is what it's for. Finally the baby is delivered. Now it has to grow."
    The LHC is the world's largest scientific experiment, involving an estimated 10,000 individuals from 60 countries, including more than 1,700 scientists and engineers from 95 U.S. universities and laboratories. It will attempt to reproduce, on a miniature scale, some of the same conditions that occurred during the first fractions of a second after the Big Bang, when our universe is thought to have come into being some 14 billion years ago.
    The main object or particle of the LHC's search is the Higgs boson, hypothesized by physicists to have been created in the Big Bang's fireball and to imbue particles with mass. It has never been detected by any of the world's previously built colliders. And it is thought to exist at energy levels that only the LHC can reach.
    "Finding the Higgs Boson will be a marathon challenge, not an easy sprint," said Sharma, who will be living at CERN during the next few years to direct and coordinate the Higgs boson search for several hundred physicists at more than 38 countries and 183 institutes worldwide. "But we have set the traps with considerable thought and are confident that we will find it in not too distant future. The thrill of the chase is overwhelming and it will energize us through the course leading to its discovery."
    Sharma and 27 other UCSD physicists and technicians have been shuttling between La Jolla and CERN during their sabbaticals and teaching breaks, for more than a decade now, to make sure that when the LHC is properly operating, data can be collected from one of the European collider's two big particle detectors--the Compact Muon Solenoid, or CMS. "The CMS detector is 21 meters long, 16 meters in diameter and weighs around the same as 30 jumbo jets or 2,500 African elephants," said Sharma "And though it is the size of a small cathedral, it contains detectors more precise than Swiss watches."
    Because of the huge volume of data expected from this experiment, the UCSD team has designed and built the largest data acquisition system in the world to analyze the more than 100,000 collisions per second that will be generated when beams of protons circulating at nearly the speed of light in opposite directions around the 27-kilometer LHC ring are brought together in violent collisions.
    "When the two proton beams collide, they will generate, within a tiny volume, temperatures a billion times hotter than in the heart of our Sun," said Sharma.
    Sharma said the detector itself is capable of operating like a 100 megapixel digital camera taking 40 million photos a second. And the 15 million gigabytes of data expected to be generated each year by the CMS experiment will produce the equivalent of 20 million CDs of data that will require the computing power of about 100,000 of the fastest PC computers. While all of this hardware had been checked and rechecked, the situation was still tense last week, Sharma said, when the LHC's first three attempts at colliding beams failed in the early morning hours because of niggling hardware issues in the big collider. But these were quickly fixed, and when the collider started to collide protons at a rapid fire rate, some 60 times a second, Sharma said he and the other UCSD scientists felt a sense of relief and exhilaration for the discoveries that are sure to come in the near future.
    "My heart stopped when the first event was splashed on the screen," he said. "The joy of watching CMS quickly and seamlessly take in all the LHC collisions and produce beautifully reconstructed events of proton-on-proton collisions is hard to communicate. LHC and CMS worked in tandem, like a dream machine."
    Complete Article
  • Fellow of the American Physical Society (2004).
  • "For the leading contribution in the discovery of the BS meson, the ?b baryon and the observation of CP violation in the B0system"
  • UCSD Academic Senate award for distinguished teaching, 2004.

  • Vivek Sharma has raised the caliber of physics education at UCSD through his passion for excellence, his embrace of innovative technology and his personal commitment ot his students and teaching assistants. An experimental particle physicist of considerable stature, he was amongst the earliest faculty to employ the Wold wide web, slides and streaming video and many of his students have reported that these tools opened new vistas for them His teaching assistants have praised him for his extraordinary attention to their career prospects, and his colleagues have expressed gratitude for his generous work on behalf of the department, from serving on committees to recruiting top graduate students. One student said simply: "Professor Sharma is a giver who puts students first."

    In recognition of distinguished teaching at the University of California, San Diego, the academic senate bestows this award.
  • Cottrell Scholar Award, Research Corporation, (1998).
  • Cottrell Scholar Award, Research Corporation, (1998)
  • Faculty for the 21st Century, Project Kaleidoscope (1998).
  • Faculty for the 21st Century, Project Kaleidoscope (1998).
  • A.P. Sloan Research Fellowship (1996).
  • A.P. Sloan Research Fellowship (1996).
  • National Talent Prize, Ministry of Science & Education (India) , 1979.
  • National Talent Prize, Ministry of Science & Education (India) , 1979.
  • Professor Vivek Sharma's talk "Hunting the Higgs" to Premiere on UCSD-TV
  • UCSD-TV is pleased to announce that Professor Sharma's talk "Hunting the Higgs" will premiere Wednesday, February 23 at 8:00 pm.

    The link below includes all scheduled air dates/times, as well as different options to view the program online once it's uploaded to the site just prior to the premiere date. This will include embeddable Flash video and audio and video podcasts.

    What Gives Particles Mass? Searching for the Higgs

  • UC San Diego Physicist Vivek Sharma featured in New York Times Article, "Chasing the Higgs Boson"
  • MEYRIN, Switzerland - Vivek Sharma missed his daughter.

    A professor at the University of California, San Diego, Dr. Sharma had to spend months at a time away from home, coordinating a team of physicists at the Large Hadron Collider, here just outside Geneva. But on April 15, 2011, Meera Sharma's 7th birthday, he flew to California for some much-needed family time. "We had a fine birthday, a beautiful day," he recalled.

    Then Dr. Sharma was alerted to a blog post. There it was reported that a rival team of physicists had beaten his team to the discovery of the Higgs boson - the long-sought "God particle."

    If his rivals were right, it would mean a cascade of Nobel Prizes flowing in the wrong direction and, even more vexingly, that Dr. Sharma and his colleagues had missed one of nature's clues and thus one of its greatest prizes; that the dream of any physicist - to know something that nobody else has ever known - was happening to someone else.

    He flew back to Geneva the next day. "My wife was stunned," he recalled.

    He would not see them again for months.

    Read More...

Selected Publications