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Three new Helmholtz Young Investigator Groups at DESY

The Helmholtz Association is funding three new groups of young investigators at DESY. With an annual grant of 300,000 euros each, three young scientists will be able to set up their own research groups at DESY over a period of six years. The Helmholtz Association and DESY will each be paying half of this grant. “I am extremely pleased that no fewer than three of our candidates were able to convince the panel with their projects. Encouraging young scientists and opening up individual career opportunities are matters that are particularly dear to DESY,” emphasises Helmut Dosch, the Chairman of DESY’s Board of Directors.

Priscilla Pani and her new Young Investigator Group will go in search of dark matter, by analysing the high-energy proton-proton collisions in the ATLAS detector at the LHC. The group will be working with DESY’S ATLAS Group and the Humboldt University in Berlin, in particular studying the interesting scenario in which the interaction between dark and conventional matter is mediated by a new scalar particle which – like the Higgs boson – interacts particularly with heavy elementary particles. For this purpose, those collisions are especially interesting in which pairs of top quarks are created and which are at the same time missing transverse energy.

Abideh Jafari will be working as part of the international CMS collaboration and taking a closer look at a particular aspect of the electroweak force: she hopes to be the first to measure the interaction between the top quark and the Z boson directly and with high precision. Heavy elementary particles and their precise measurement play an important role in the search for new physical phenomena. In addition to the CMS group, Jafari will also be working together closely with theoreticians at DESY and the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology, KIT.

Torben Ferber wants to use the Belle II detectors at the SuperKEKB accelerator facility to search for dark matter and axion-like particles. His Young Investigator Group will be working with DESY’s Belle II research group and the University of Hamburg, in particular studying events that produce a single or else exactly three high-energy photons. To do this, as well as in his additional search for dark photons and axion-like particles, Ferber wants his group to promote the detector’s electromagnetic calorimeter and push ahead with the reconstruction of its data, whereby a special focus will lie on machine learning.

All in all the Helmholtz Association’s 18 research centres are funding 16 new Young Investigator Groups.