Elliott Kauffman '22 - High Energy Physics Research Project (Summer 2020)


This summer I utilized SPIRE funds as well as a physics research fellowship to work on a high energy physics research project. The ATLAS experiment at CERN aims to find new physics by analyzing data from high energy proton-proton collisions. These collisions are observed via a shower of particles called a jet. One of the ways this is done is by “tagging” known jets that come from certain particles (such as quarks and gluons) in order to isolate abnormal jets. I have been working on creating an untrained jet tagger that uses a metric called Event Mover’s Distance to spatially map jets based on how similar they are to one another. I calculate the Event Mover’s Distance across mass bins. My hypothesis is that an abnormal jet would present a significant deviation in the average Event Mover’s Distance trend. My progress this summer has been injecting an abnormal jet into a sample of simulated data in order to test the sensitivity of this jet tagger. So far I have been using the average value of the EMD values across mass and testing this on simulated data. I have determined that the difference between an abnormal jet and a normal jet is not larger than the range of uncertainty using this method and that the difference is not dependent on mass. Knowing this, I will have to develop a more sensitive metric to use to compare Event Mover’s Distance values and work on decreasing my uncertainties. This project will likely contribute to a senior thesis in physics.