Faculty Description

Research Statement
  • My primary physics interest lies in searching for new phenomena at the high energy frontier with the CMS detector at the LHC. Topics of interest include but are not limited to the search for dark matter and electroweak symmetry breaking.

    As experimentalist, I am furthermore interested in instrumentation, and data analysis. In the last few years, this meant developing, deploying, and now operating a worldwide distributed computing system for high throughput computing with large data volumes. In 2010, "large" data volumes are measured in Petabytes. By 2020, we expect this to grow to Exabytes.
Awards & News
  • Professor Frank Wuerthwein and his group contributed to one of the American Institute of Physics' "top 10" physics results for 2007
  • Professor Frank Wuerthwein and his group contributed to one of the American Institute of Physics' "top 10" physics results for 2007.
    They provided two of the four measurements mentioned in number 7 on the list:
    - First observation of WZ production (published in Physical Review Letters
    - First measurement of ZZ production at a hadron collider (submitted to Physical Review Letters). Given that the Tevatron involves about 1500 physicists across two competing experiments from many countries worldwide, it is remarkable that a group of 6 people from UCSD were responsible for 50% of the recognized results while the other two measurements were completed by small armies of people from both experiments.

    The two postdocs and one graduate student who were the primary drivers of this work have all obtained prestigous appointments:

    - Mark Neubauer joined the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign as an Assistant Professor last summer.
    - Elliot Lipeles is joining the University of Pennsylvania as an Assistant Professor in July 2008; and
    - Shih-Chien Hsu has accepted a Chamberlain Fellowship at UC Berkeley, starting May 2008.

    Two other UCSD students (Matt Norman, a 5th year Physics graduate student, and Rami Vanguri, an undergraduate Physics major) also participated in the research described above.

    Professor Wuerthwein's group is now pushing out a number of other measurements, including the world's most sensitive Higgs search (Physical Review Letters in preparation). The group operates such that Rami, their undergraduate student, has the opportunity to contribute meaningfully to three papers, one of which was the WZ observation. For the two papers still in preparation, Rami is the primary author. Similarly, Matt has another paper in preparation for which he is the primary author, and there is one more paper in preparation for which Matt and Elliot are the primary authors.

    The listings can be found at: http://www.aip.org/pnu/2007/split/850-1.html
  • UCSD Physicists Take Part in World's Largest Experiment

  • UC San Diego physics professor Frank Wuerthwein never thought his work as a particle physicist would be front page news. But when the world's largest particle collider turned on its beam of protons near Geneva on September 10, Wuerthwein began receiving text messages from people he hardly knew congratulating him on the accomplishment.
    "I have never in my life seen my field attract so much attention," he said with amazement on his way to the airport for his 20-hour flight to Geneva.
    Wuerthwein is one of 24 UCSD physicists involved in the Large Hadron Collider, or LHC, which this month begins the long-awaited quest to find the Higgs boson, a hypothetical particle that physicists hope will allow them to finally tie together the fundamental forces and particles in nature into one grand theory. It is the world's largest experiment, 15 years in the making and involving an estimated 10,000 individuals from 60 countries, including more than 1,700 scientists and engineers from 94 U.S. universities and laboratories.
    Since 1994, UCSD physicists have been shuttling between La Jolla and Geneva during their sabbaticals and teaching breaks to work on one of the European collider's two big particle detectors--the Compact Muon Solenoid, or CMS. Make that a gigantic particle detector.
    "The CMS detector is 15 meters in diameter and weighs around the same as 30 jumbo jets or 2,500 African elephants," said Vivek Sharma, a professor of physics who participated in the LHC's historic grand opening. "And though it is the size of a cathedral, it contains detectors as precise as Swiss watches."
    Full Story

  • Physics entries win first and second prize in the Faculty/Staff Category and first prize in the Student Category in the Art of Science Competition.
  • The UC San Diego Science and Engineering Library received 44 amazing images. "We were impressed by the variety, creativity and the scientific story behind each of the entries!"

    All of the images will be displayed in the S&E Library beginning Friday, May 27, and continuing through the summer. Please stop by and take a look. They will also be posted on the S&E Flickr page next week.

    And the winners are...

    Faculty/Staff Category
    1st place - Tadel Matevz, Physics
    2nd place - Adam Burgasser, Physics
    3rd place - David Rideout, Mathematics

    Student Category
    1st place - Rick Wagner, Physics
    2nd place - Christopher Doran, ECE
    3rd place - Kim Wright, MAE
    Honorable Mention - Alireza Kargar, ECE

    ChaOss Begets Order I. (1st place - Tadel Matevz, Physics)

    The image shows a Z-boson decaying into electron-positron pair inside the Compact Muon Selenoid (CMS) detector at CERN, European Organization for Nuclear Research in Geneva, Switzerland. The event was produced as a result of lead-lead ion collisions at the Large Hadron Collider and is in fact one of the first events in the world where Z-boson production was observed in heavy-ion collisions. The two opposite, dominant red towers show energy depositions of the electron and positron in the electro-magnetic calorimeter of CMS while other smaller red and blue towers represent the energy deposited by remaining low-energy particles in the electro-magnetic (red) and hadronic (blue) calorimeters of CMS.

    Stellar Orbits Dragonfly (2nd place - Adam Burgasser, Physics)

    Everything in the Universe moves. Moons, planets, stars, even whole galaxies careen through the cosmos, carrying us along. These motions tell us about the origins of celestial objects, how they have evolved, and the medium of matter, dark matter and dark energy they move through.

    In my research, I study our nearest brown dwarf neighbors - very low-mass, low-temperature stars they are a "mere" 10-50 light-years away. These stars orbit our galactic system - the Milky Way Galaxy - along many paths that reveal their diverse ages and origins. The image shows the orbital paths of 200 such brown dwarfs based on data collected from the Two Micron All Sky Survey and the Sloan Digital Sky Survey, projected to show radial and vertical motions. Some of the orbits are clustered, indicating stellar groups that orbit around the Milky Way together; others are very wide, indicating old stars that are just passing through the Solar Neighborhood.

  • UCSD Physicist Frank Wuerthwein is using SDSC's Gordon Supercomputer to crunch data sets from almost one billion particle collisions.
  • Prof. Frank Wuerthwein and his team are helping to define the research agenda for the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) by crunching data sets from almost one billion particle collisions.

    See link for details.

Selected Publications
  • - Search for a Higgs Boson decaying to W pairs using Matrix Element and Likelihood Ratio Methods PRL 102 (2009) 021802

  • - Strong Evidence for ZZ Production PRL 100 (2008) 201801

  • - Observation of WZ Production PRL 98 (2007) 161801