Tejinder (Jim) Virdee
Tejinder Virdee on the balcony of the Royal Society in July, 2012
|Born||Tejinder Singh Virdee
13 October 1952
Nyeri, Kenya Colony
|Fields||Physics (particle physics)|
|Institutions||Imperial College London|
|Alma mater||Queen Mary University of London (B.Sc.)
Imperial College London (Ph.D.)
|Thesis||Sigma Hyperon Production in a Triggered Bubble Chamber (1979)|
|Doctoral advisor||Peter Dornan|
|Known for||Originating the concept and overseeing the construction of CMS|
|Notable awards||2009 IOP Chadwick Medal and Prize
2013 Special Breakthrough Prize in Fundamental Physics
2013 EPS HEP Prize
2015 IOP Glazebrook Medal and Prize
2017 Panofsky Prize
Prof. Sir Tejinder Singh Virdee, FRS (born 13 October 1952), is an experimental particle physicist and Professor of Physics at Imperial College London. He is best known for originating the concept of CMS with a few other colleagues and has been referred to as one of the 'founding fathers'  of the project. CMS is a world-wide collaboration which started in 1991 and now has over 3000 participants from 38 countries.
Virdee was elected Fellow of the Royal Society and of the Institute of Physics in 2012. In recognition of his work on CMS he has been awarded the Institute of Physics (IOP) 2007 High Energy Physics Prize and the IOP 2009 Chadwick Medal and Prize. In 2012, he was awarded the 2013 Special Breakthrough Prize in Fundamental Physics for 'leadership in the scientific endeavour that led to the discovery of the new Higgs-like particle by the ATLAS and CMS collaborations at CERN's Large Hadron Collider along with 6 other physicists. He was awarded the 2013 European Physical Society High Energy Physics Prize and the 2017 American Physical Society Panofsky Prize for his pioneering work and outstanding leadership in the making of the CMS experiment.
Early life and education
Tejinder Virdee, son of Udham Kaur and Chain Singh Virdee, was born in Nyeri, Kenya in 1952 into a Sikh family. Virdee went to school in Kisumu at the Kisumu Boys High School. Due to the prevailing circumstances in Kenya at the time, his family Indian by origin, left in 1967 and moved to Birmingham, England. He credits part of his interest in physics to Howard Stockley, his physics teacher at King's Norton Boys' School, Birmingham, whom he describes as an 'inspirational teacher'. He also remembers visiting Birmingham Museum of Science and Industry, where he stumbled across a cloud chamber sparking his interest in the study of the structure of matter. Virdee obtained a B.Sc. in Physics from Queen Mary University of London in 1974.
After completing his Ph.D. at Imperial College London, on an experiment conducted at the Stanford Linear Accelerator Center (SLAC) in California, he joined CERN in 1979 as a Fellow of the Experimental Physics Division. Virdee’s early scientific career (1979-1984) involved verifying the strange notion that the “quarks” (the constituents of the protons the neutrons and all other hadrons) carry fractional electric charge. This was successfully demonstrated by the NA14 photoproduction experiment at CERN in the mid-eighties. Following NA14 he joined the UA1 experiment at CERN's proton-antiproton collider (SPS) where his interest in high-performance calorimetry was developed, leading to his invention of a novel technique of collecting light in plastic scintillator-based calorimeters.
Towards the end of UA1, (1990) Virdee, with a few other colleagues, started planning an experiment based on a high field solenoid that would be able to identify the missing elements of the Standard Model (SM) and also to probe in full the physics of the TeV scale. This was to become the Compact Muon Solenoid (CMS) experiment at the LHC, one of the most complex instruments Science has ever seen. Since 1991 Virdee has played a crucial role in all phases of CMS. Over the last two decades this has covered conceptual design, intensive R&D, prototyping, construction, installation, commissioning, data-taking and finally physics exploitation. He has been the driving force behind many of the major technology decisions made in CMS, especially the selection of the calorimeter technologies. The CMS hadron calorimeter uses the technique he had invented earlier.
The possibility of discovering a Higgs-like boson played a crucial role in the conceptual design of CMS, and served as a benchmark to test the performance of the experiment. In 1990 Virdee and a colleague, Christopher Seez, carried out the first detailed simulation studies of the most plausible way to detect the SM Higgs boson in the low-mass region in the environment of the LHC: via its decay into two photons. Understanding that dense scintillating crystals offer arguably the best possibility of achieving excellent energy resolution, Virdee made a compelling case for the use of lead tungstate scintillating crystals (PbWO4) for the electromagnetic calorimeter of CMS and then led the team that proved the viability of this technique, a technique that has played a crucial role in the discovery of the new heavy boson, in July 2012. Virdee was deeply involved in this search for the Higgs boson, especially via its two-photon decay mode.
Virdee was the deputy project leader of CMS between 1993 and 2006 and was then elected project leader (Spokesperson) in January 2007 for a period of three years. He oversaw the final stages of construction, installation and data taking with the first collisions at the LHC.
Virdee is a major voice in arguing for the long-term future of the LHC accelerator and its experiments. An increase in the interaction rate by almost a factor of around ten is being advocated for the CMS and ATLAS experiments.
Invited lectures and outreach
Virdee has given several keynote speeches at international conferences, opening or closing addresses at particle physics conferences and public lectures on the LHC Project. These include the 2007 Schrödinger Lecture, the 2012 Peter Lindsay Lectures at Imperial College, the 16th Kaczmarczik Lecture at Drexel University, Philadelphia in 2011, the Keynote Speech at the 2009 Intel International Science and Engineering Fair, Reno, USA and joint lectures on the LHC Project with Prof. Edward Witten in Philadelphia, U.S.A. (2008) and Split, Croatia (2009).
- 2015 Awarded the Institute of Physics Glazebrook Medal and Prize.
- 2013 Awarded the European Physical Society High Energy Physics Prize.
- 2013 Awarded Doctor of Science (honoris causa) by University of Lyon.
- 2013 Awarded Doctor of Science (honoris causa) by Queen Mary University of London, his alma mater.
- 2012 Awarded the 2013 Special Breakthrough Prize in Fundamental Physics.
- 2009 Awarded the Institute of Physics Chadwick Medal and Prize.
- 2007 Awarded the Institute of Physics High Energy Physics Prize.
- 2016 "The Long Road to the Higgs boson and Beyond”, J. N. Tata Memorial Lecture, IISc Bangalore, India.
- 2016 “The Long Road to the Higgs boson and Beyond”, Alan Astbury Lecture, Victoria, Canada.
- 2013 "The Quest for the Higgs boson at the LHC: A Historical Perspective”, Barcelona, Spain
- 2012 Peter Lindsay Lectures at Imperial College.
- 2012 Special lecture on the discovery of the Higgs Boson at Imperial College London (video).
- 2012 “Searching for the Higgs boson”, Cheltenham Science Festival, U.K.
- 2011 16th Kaczmarczik Lecture: “Exploring Nature Moments after the Big Bang: The LHC Accelerator and the CMS Experiment”, Drexel University, Philadelphia, U.S.A.
- 2009 “Discovering the Quantum Universe; The LHC Project at CERN”, Keynote Speaker at the Intel Science and Engineering Fair in Reno, U.S.A. (video)
- 2008 “Discovering the Quantum Universe; The LHC Project at CERN”, International Conference on High Energy Physics, Philadelphia, USA with Prof. E. Witten.
- 2007 20th Schrodinger Lecture, Centennial of Imperial College: “Discovering the Quantum Universe: The Large Hadron Collider Project at CERN”, London, U.K. (video)
Video and Radio
- 2013 Participated in workshops promoting science education in Africa to Secondary Schools students with the BBC World Service programmes for “BBC Festival of Science Africa”, broadcast from Makerere University, Kampala, Uganda. (audio)
- 2012 Featured on the BBC Radio programme, “Life Scientific”, that discusses the scientific life of individual scientists, 20 March 2012. (audio)
- 2009 Dialogue on the LHC project and CMS with Prof. A. C. Grayling, broadcast on BBC World Service programme “Exchanges at the Frontier”. (audio | video)
- 2015 Awarded the Outstanding Achievement in Science and Technology award at The Asian Awards
- 2014 Asian Achievers Awards: Professional of the Year.
- 2013 GG2 Award.
- 2010 The Sikh Awards: Sikhs in Education.
- 2010 Named 62nd in “EUREKA 100: The Science List” - The London Times' 100 most important figures in British science.
- 2007 Named in the list of “100 Personalities that make Swiss Romandie”; l’Hebdo magazine, Switzerland.
- "Imperial College Reference".
- "CERN Courier Article: Inside story: the search in CMS for the Higgs boson". CERN Courier. Retrieved 7 December 2012.
- "Fellow of the Royal Society".
- "2007 HEPP Prize". Retrieved 7 December 2012.
- "Chadwick Medal".
- "2012 Special Fundamental Physics Prize". Retrieved 11 December 2012.
- "2013 European Physical Society High Energy Physics Prize" (PDF).
- "W.K.H. Panofsky Prize in Experimental Particle Physics". APS Physics. Retrieved 5 January 2017.
- "Knighthood" (PDF). British Government. Retrieved 12 July 2014.
- "BBC World Service: Life Scientific".
- Astbury, P.; et al. (1 March 1985). "Measurement of deep inelastic Compton scattering of high energy photons". Physics Letters B. 152 (5–6): 419–427. Bibcode:1985PhLB..152..419A. doi:10.1016/0370-2693(85)90521-0.
- Albrow, M.G.; Arnison, G.; Bunn, J.; Clarke, D.; Cochet, C.; Colas, P.; Dallman, D.; de Brion, J.P.; Denby, B.; Eisenhandler, E.; Garvey, J.; Grayer, G.; Hill, D.; Krammer, M.; Locci, E.; Pigot, C.; Robinson, D.; Siotis, I.; Sobie, R.; Szoncso, F.; Verrecchia, P.; Virdee, T.S.; Wahl, H.D.; Wildish, A.; Wulz, C.-E. (31 March 1987). "A uranium scintillator calorimeter with plastic-fibre readout". Nuclear Instruments and Methods in Physics Research Section A: Accelerators, Spectrometers, Detectors and Associated Equipment. 256 (1): 23–37. Bibcode:1987NIMPA.256...23A. doi:10.1016/0168-9002(87)91035-7.
- "CMS Letter of Intent". Retrieved 7 December 2012.
- Ellis, N; Virdee, T S (1 December 1994). "Experimental Challenges in High-Luminosity Collider Physics". Annual Review of Nuclear and Particle Science. 44 (1): 609–653. Bibcode:1994ARNPS..44..609E. doi:10.1146/annurev.ns.44.120194.003141.
- Virdee, T. S. (16 January 2012). "Physics requirements for the design of the ATLAS and CMS experiments at the Large Hadron Collider". Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society A: Mathematical, Physical and Engineering Sciences. 370 (1961): 876–891. doi:10.1098/rsta.2011.0459.
- "Photon decay modes of the intermediate mass Higgs" (PDF).
- "A Crystal calorimeter for CMS at LHC". Retrieved 7 December 2012.
- "Studies of Lead Tungstate Crystal Matrices in High Energy Beams for the CMS Electromagnetic Calorimeter at the LHC" (PDF).
- The CMS Collaboration; Khachatryan, V.; Sirunyan, A.M.; Tumasyan, A.; Adam, W.; Aguilo, E.; Bergauer, T.; Dragicevic, M.; Erö, J.; Fabjan, C.; Friedl, M.; Frühwirth, R.; Ghete, V.M.; Hammer, J.; Hoch, M.; Hörmann, N.; Hrubec, J.; Jeitler, M.; Kiesenhofer, W.; Knünz, V.; Krammer, M.; Krätschmer, I.; Liko, D.; Majerotto, W.; Mikulec, I.; Pernicka, M.; Rahbaran, B.; Rohringer, C.; Rohringer, H.; et al. (2012). "Observation of a new boson at a mass of 125 GeV with the CMS experiment at the LHC". Physics Letters B. 716 (2012): 30. arXiv: . doi:10.1016/j.physletb.2012.08.021.
- Della Negra, M.; Jenni, P.; Virdee, T. S. (20 December 2012). "Journey in the Search for the Higgs Boson: The ATLAS and CMS Experiments at the Large Hadron Collider". Science. 338 (6114): 1560–1568. Bibcode:2012Sci...338.1560D. PMID 23258886. doi:10.1126/science.1230827.
- "Elected Spokesperson for 3 years".
- Gianotti, F.; Mangano, M. L.; Virdee, T. (1 February 2005). "Physics potential and experimental challenges of the LHC luminosity upgrade". The European Physical Journal C. 39 (3): 293–333. Bibcode:2005EPJC...39..293G. doi:10.1140/epjc/s2004-02061-6.
- "CERN and Science in Africa". Retrieved 17 May 2014.
- "Applications invited for Africa projects grant scheme". Institute of Physics. Institute of Physics. Retrieved 20 August 2016.
- "2007 Schrödinger Lecture". Retrieved 10 December 2012.
- "2012 Peter Lindsay Memorial Lecture". Retrieved 10 December 2012.
- "16th Annual Kaczmarczik Lecture". Retrieved 10 December 2012.
- "2009 Intel International Science and Engineering Fair". Retrieved 10 December 2012.
- "2008 Joint Lectures: Virdee and Witten".
- "A.C. Grayling: Exchanges At The Frontier 2009". Retrieved 10 December 2012.
- "2015 Glazebrook Medal". IOP. IOP. Retrieved 13 September 2015.
- "Docteur Honoris Causa de l’Université Claude Bernard Lyon".
- "Honorary Doctor of Science, Queen Mary University". Retrieved 21 December 2013.
- "Fundamental Physics Prize - News". Fundamental Physics Prize. Retrieved 11 December 2012.
- "Connect" (PDF). Indian Institute of Science. Indian Institute of Science. Retrieved 5 February 2017.
- "Alan Astbury Public Lecture Series". University of Victoria. University of Victoria. Retrieved 5 February 2017.
- "Cheltenham Science Festival Brochure 2012, Page 17". Retrieved 17 May 2014.
- "CERN welcomes 13 Intel ISEF pre-college winners". CERN. Retrieved 17 May 2014.
- "2014 Asian Achievers Award". Retrieved 8 January 2015.
- "GG2 Award".
- "2010 Sikh Award". Retrieved 26 December 2013.
- "2010 Eureka 100: The Science List". The Times. Retrieved 7 December 2012.
- "100 Personalities that make Swiss Romandie" (PDF).
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