Jon Butterworth

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Jon Butterworth
Jon Butterworth IMG 1269-w (14692755905) (cropped).jpg
Jon Butterworth speaking at Winchester Science Festival in 2013
Jonathan Mark Butterworth

1967/1968 (age 52–53)[1]
Alma materUniversity of Oxford (BA, DPhil)
Scientific career
FieldsParticle physics[4]
ThesisPerformance of the ZEUS second level tracking trigger and studies of R-parity violating supersymmetry at HERA (1992)
Doctoral advisor

Jonathan Mark Butterworth is a Professor of Physics at University College London (UCL)[3][8] working on the ATLAS experiment at CERN's Large Hadron Collider (LHC). His popular science book Smashing Physics,[9] which tells the story of the search for the Higgs boson, was published in 2014[10] and his newspaper column / blog Life and Physics is published by The Guardian.[11]

Early life and education[edit]

Butterworth was raised in Manchester and educated at Wright Robinson High School in Gorton and Shena Simon Sixth Form College. He studied Physics at the University of Oxford, gaining a Bachelor of Arts degree in 1989 followed by a Doctor of Philosophy in particle physics in 1992.[12] His PhD research used the ZEUS particle detector to investigate R-parity violating supersymmetry at the Hadron-Electron Ring Accelerator (HERA) at the Deutsches Elektronen-Synchrotron (DESY) in Hamburg,[13] and was supervised by Doug Gingrich[6] and Herbert K. Dreiner.[7]

Research and career[edit]

As of 2017 Butterworth works on particle physics, particularly the ATLAS experiment at the Large Hadron Collider at CERN. His research investigates what nature is like at the smallest distances and the highest energies - the fundamental physical laws.[14] This tells us about the physics which was most important in the first few moments after the Big Bang.[14] His research collaborators[4][6][15] include Brian Cox[10][5] and Jeff Forshaw[16] and he has supervised or co-supervised several successful PhD students to completion on the ATLAS experiment,[17][18][19] ZEUS[20][21][22][23] and HERA.[24][25][26][27][28]

Butterworth frequently discusses physics in public, including talks at the Royal Institution and the Wellcome Trust and appearances on Newsnight, Horizon, Channel 4 News, Al Jazeera, and BBC Radio 4's Today Programme and The Infinite Monkey Cage.[9] He appeared with Gavin Salam in the Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC) documentary Colliding Particles - Hunting the Higgs, which follows a team of physicists trying to find the Higgs Boson.[29]

His research has been funded by the Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC)[30] and the Royal Society.[14]


  • Smashing Physics (2014)
  • A Map of the Invisible (2017)

Awards and honours[edit]

Butterworth was awarded a prestigious Royal Society Wolfson Research Merit Award in 2009[14][3] and shortlisted for the Royal Society Winton Prize for Science Books in 2015 for his book Smashing Physics.[3] He was awarded the James Chadwick Medal and Prize by the Institute of Physics (IOP) in 2013.[3] His citation at the IOP reads:

He made the first measurements of the production of the hadronic 'jets' produced when quarks and gluons scatter in photon-proton collisions, and was Physics Chair of the ZEUS experiment in 2003/2004. He led the first measurement of jets and dijets at the LHC. He coordinated the ATLAS “Standard Model” group for the first two years of data-taking, leading more than fifty papers to publication. He has also made key phenomenological improvements related to the understanding of jets, including multiple-parton interactions, parton densities in the proton and photon, and the substructure of jets. These ideas, especially those on interrogating jet substructure, have been widely used in searches for Physics beyond the Standard Model. For example, for the identification of highly boosted (as a result of being created at very high energies) decays of top quarks, jet substructure studies are essential because frequently the decay products of the top quarks all appear inside the same jet of hadrons. Identification of boosted Higgs bosons has also proved to be the most sensitive way of identifying Higgs decays to b-quarks. He has written several seminal phenomenology papers on these topics. He has also developed several software packages which are very widely used in the simulation, measurement and understanding of high-energy collider data. Butterworth has worked on design, construction and development of the ZEUS and ATLAS detectors and their upgrades, including leading the successful bids in the UK for a microvertex detector upgrade for the ZEUS detector, and the first stage of the ATLAS detector upgrades in the UK.[2]

Smashing Physics was also shortlisted for Book of the Year by Physics World in 2014.[citation needed]


  1. ^ a b Anon (2013). "Ich Bin Kentishtowner: Jon Butterworth, 45, physics professor". Archived from the original on 2013-04-24.
  2. ^ a b Anon (2013). "Jon Butterworth: 2013 Chadwick Medal and Prize". London: Institute of Physics. Archived from the original on 2017-03-30.
  3. ^ a b c d e f Butterworth, Jon (2017). "Jon Butterworth, UCL Institutional Research Information Service (IRIS)". Archived from the original on 2017-03-16.
  4. ^ a b Jon Butterworth publications indexed by Google Scholar Edit this at Wikidata
  5. ^ a b "Butterworth, Jonathan M." INSPIRE-HEP.
  6. ^ a b c "Jonathan M. Butterworth profile 1014844 HEP names". INSPIRE-HEP.
  7. ^ a b Dreiner, Herbert (2015). "Herbert Dreiner CV" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2017-03-16.
  8. ^ Butterworth, Jonathan (2016). "Jonathan Butterworth: High Energy Physics Group". London: University College London. Archived from the original on 2016-12-31.
  9. ^ a b Butterworth, Jon (2014). Smashing Physics: Inside the world's biggest experiment. London: Headline Publishing Group. p. 352. ISBN 978-1472210333. OCLC 915942320. (available as “Most Wanted Particle” in Canada and the USA)
  10. ^ a b Anon (2015) Smashing Physics - with Jon Butterworth and Brian Cox on YouTube published by the Royal Institution, London
  11. ^ Butterworth, Jon (2013). "Life and Physics". London: The Guardian. Archived from the original on 2013-08-05.
  12. ^ Butterworth, Jonathan Mark (1992). Performance of the ZEUS second level tracking trigger and studies of R-parity violating supersymmetry at HERA. (DPhil thesis). University of Oxford. OCLC 53502705. EThOS
  13. ^ Butterworth, J.; Dreiner, H. (1993). "R-parity violation at HERA". Nuclear Physics B. 397 (1–2): 3–34. arXiv:hep-ph/9211204. Bibcode:1993NuPhB.397....3B. doi:10.1016/0550-3213(93)90334-L. ISSN 0550-3213. S2CID 17523206.
  14. ^ a b c d Anon (2016). "Professor Jonathan Butterworth: Research Fellow". London: Royal Society. Archived from the original on 2017-03-16. One or more of the preceding sentences incorporates text from the website where:

    "All text published under the heading 'Biography' on Fellow profile pages is available under Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.""Royal Society Terms, conditions and policies". Archived from the original on 2016-11-11. Retrieved 2016-03-09.CS1 maint: bot: original URL status unknown (link)

  15. ^ "Jon Butterworth's articles". arXiv.
  16. ^ Butterworth, J. M.; Cox, B. E.; Forshaw, J. R. (2002). "WW scattering at the CERN LHC" (PDF). Physical Review D. 65 (9): 096014. arXiv:hep-ph/0201098. Bibcode:2002PhRvD..65i6014B. doi:10.1103/PhysRevD.65.096014. S2CID 118887006.
  17. ^ Baker, Sarah J. (2013). Studies of jets, subjets and Higgs searches with the ATLAS detector. (PhD thesis). University College London (University of London). OCLC 926384795.
  18. ^ Ochoa de Castro, Maria Inês A. J. (2015). Searching for the Higgs boson in the bb decay channel with the ATLAS experiment. (PhD thesis). University College London (University of London). OCLC 927016691. EThOS Free to read
  19. ^ Davison, Adam R. (2011). Exploring electroweak symmetry breaking with jet substructure at the ATLAS experiment. (PhD thesis). University College London (University of London). OCLC 778953562.
  20. ^ Wing, Matthew (1999). The study of heavy quark production in high Et photoproduction at HERA using ZEUS detector. (PhD thesis). University College London. OCLC 855166362.
  21. ^ Targett-Adams, Christopher (2006). Dijet photoproduction and the structure of the proton with the ZEUS detector. (PhD thesis). University College London (University of London). OCLC 926256726.
  22. ^ Loizides, John Harry (2005). Charm at HERA I and HERA II with the ZEUS experiment. (PhD thesis). University College London (University of London). OCLC 500379717.
  23. ^ Lightwood, Matthew Stephen (2005). Dijet production and multiscale QCD at HERA. (PhD thesis). University College London (University of London). OCLC 500514269.
  24. ^ Butterworth, Jon (2016). "Jonathan Butterworth's current and former PhD students". Archived from the original on 2017-03-16.
  25. ^ Gwenlan, Claire (2004). Jets and energy flow in photoproduction using the ZEUS detector at HERA. (PhD thesis). University College London (University of London). OCLC 940115440. EThOS
  26. ^ West, Benjamin John (2001). Charm and the virtual proton at HERA and a global tracking trigger for ZEUS (PhD thesis). University College London. OCLC 926990757.
  27. ^ Heaphy, Eileen Anne (2002). Jet photoproduction and photon structure. (PhD thesis). University College London. OCLC 78549753.
  28. ^ Saunders, Robert Luke (1997). A measurement of dijet photoproduction at HERA using the ZEUS detector. (PhD thesis). University College London. OCLC 53600177.
  29. ^ Anon (2009). "Colliding Particles - Hunting the Higgs".
  30. ^ Anon (2017). "UK government grants awarded to Jon Butterworth". Swindon: Research Councils UK. Archived from the original on 2017-03-30.