The goal of Prof. Calderon de la Barca's research is to measure the
production of beauty in the hottest matter produced in the lab. He is
working in studies of heavy ion collisions at the Relativistic Heavy Ion
Collider (RHIC) at Brookhaven National Lab and at the Large Hadron
Collider at CERN. He participate in the STAR Experiment, and in the CMS
Experiment. He is interested in measuring heavy quark mesons. In
particular, he has led the measurement of the Υ meson (a bound
state of a beauty and an anti beauty quark) in the STAR experiment.
The collisions of heavy ions at RHIC and LHC produce hot quark matter,
and these measurements of Υ mesons can tell us just how hot. The
picture below shows one of the first Pb+Pb collisions taken with the CMS
experiment. There are thousands of particles produced in a single event.
The temperatures and energy densities reached by the matter produced in
the collision are high enough to deconfine the quarks and gluons making
up the colliding nuclei. By comparison, the temperatures reached are
hundreds of thousands of time hotter than the core of the Sun, and
similar to the temperature of the universe about 1 microsecond after the
Big Bang. In this extremely hot environment, we expect a modification of
the properties of the Υ particles due to the presence of
deconfined quarks and gluons.
In the experiments, one can carry out a measurement of the Υ meson by
reconstructing the decay Υ -> e+e- using tracking and
electromagnetic calorimetry for electron identification, and using
Υ -> μ+μ- in the CMS experiment which has excellent muon
detection capabilities. By measuring these quarks students in Prof.
Calderon de la Barca's group learn about the strong nuclear force, which
gets its name from the fact that it is the strongest of all the forces
of nature (stronger than gravity and electromagnetism).
- Ph.D., Yale University, 2001
- Research Associate, Brookhaven National Laboratory, 2001-2003
- Assistant Physicist, Brookhaven National Laboratory, 2003-2004
- Assistant Professor, Indiana University, 2004-2005
- Assistant Professor, University of California, Davis, 2005-2008
- Associate Professor, University of California, Davis, 2008-Present
- 2010 UC Davis, Mathematical and PHysical Sciences Division, Research Award.
- 2009 Wayne State University, MLK/César Chãvez/Rosa Parks Visiting Professor.
- NSF Career Award for Junior Faculty, 2007
- Verano Cientifico Fellowship (Awarded by Division of Particles and Fields,
Mexican Physical Society, for research at CERN, Summer 1996)