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Manuel Calderon de la Barca Sanchez

Associate Professor, Physics


One Shields Avenue
Physics Department
Davis, CA 95616

Office: 397A Phy/Geo
Phone: +1 (530) 554-2209
Fax: +1 (530) 752-4717
Email: calderon@physics.ucdavis.edu

Personal web site

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).

Career History

  • 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)
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