Stanford ATLAS Fast TracKer, Higgs Physics and More


Lauren Tompkins, PhD.Contact Info

Lauren Tompkins is an assistant professor of Physics. After receiving her BA, MA and PhD in physics from UC Berkeley and completing a postdoc at the University of Chicago, she joined Stanford in the fall of 2014. She is passionate about the physics of subatomic particles, equity and inclusion in STEM, communicating science to the public, and any activity that gets her outdoors!

Zihao Jiang, PhD StudentContact Info

Zihao Jiang is a Stanford physics graduate student. He comes from Shaoxing, China. In 2014, Zihao received his BA in physics and math from University of Chicago and joined Prof. Tompkins’s ATLAS group. He reads, plays the violin and listens to Peking opera for leisure. He is a P.D. Soros Fellow of the Class of 2016.

Nikolina Ilic, PhD. Postdoctoral ScholarContact Info

Nikolina Ilic obtained her bachelor’s degree in Honors Mathematical Physics from the University of Waterloo. During this time she became involved in several projects, including quantum cryptography, CKM matrix measurements using ion traps and ATLAS detector calibration. She chose to pursue a career in the latter, obtaining a PhD in High Energy Physics from the University of Toronto. During her PhD she was involved in the search for the Higgs Boson in the WW channel, a measurement of Vector Boson Scattering, as well as operation of the ATLAS’s electromagnetic calorimeter and performance studies of jets and missing transverse energy. Nikolina joined the Stanford group in February 2015. In her spare time she enjoys wakeboarding, snowboarding, squash and salsa dancing.

Aaron Armbruster, PhD. Postdoctoral ScholarContact Info

Aaron earned his Bachelor’s degree in physics from the University of Michigan in 2007. In his last year there, he began working in the newly formed Higgs group, exploring the discovery potential of the Higgs with the ATLAS detector. Later, after spending a year at CERN commissioning the muon detectors for ATLAS, he decided to return to UM for graduate studies. During his Ph.D. he was strongly involved in the analysis of Higgs to WW decays and performed the combination of Higgs channels from first data through the discovery. After graduating in 2013, Aaron began a fellowship at CERN where he continued to work on Higgs analysis, and also performed a precise measurement of the Z-boson polarisation. In January 2016, Aaron joined the Stanford group. He likes to brew beer, cook, ski in the winter, and have barbecues in the summer.

Visiting students

Steffie Ann Thayil MS StudentContact Info

Steffie Ann Thayil is a final-year student at BITS Pilani, India, working towards a bachelor’s degree in Electronics & Instrumentation and a master’s degree in Physics. She is currently working with the Stanford group on the ATLAS Fast TracKer project, following a fascination with experimental high energy physics after several absorbing projects on the analysis side of the field. When she’s not doing physics or tinkering with electronics, Steffie likes to spend her time traveling, making art, quizzing and solving cryptic crosswords.

Renee Cai BA StudentContact Info

Renee Cai is an undergraduate student at Stanford University, Class of 2019. After an astro-imaging project on galaxy clusters and nebulae at UCLA in 2014, she took a leap from studying the largest objects in the universe to the smallest when she joined the Stanford ATLAS group in 2016. Renee continues to be fascinated by all physics phenomena, whether it’s on the scale of light years or Planck lengths. She is particularly passionate about improving science communication and exploring the intersection between the sciences and the humanities. When she is not at work, you can find her at the beach, on a plane, in an art museum, or on the slopes.

Michael Dobbs BS StudentContact Info

Michael Dobbs is a senior undergraduate at Sonoma State University majoring in physics, applied mathematics, and minoring in chemistry. He is presently working with the Stanford group on the ATLAS b-tagging project, consumed in a physics analysis of the current b-tagging algorithms. In his free time, he enjoys hiking up the local Swiss mountains, playing the drums, and swimming at the local beaches!

Olivia Krohn BS StudentContact Info

Olivia Krohn is in her final year as a B.S. in physics at CSU Fresno, where she is also a part of the Smittcamp Family Honors College. She worked as an REU student at UCLA in the summer of 2015, and joined the Stanford ATLAS group for the summer of 2016. In her free time she enjoys reading, hiking, photography and exploring

Adminstrative Support

Wenli Lucy Heffner, Administrative Support Extraordinaire! Contact Info

Former Group Members

Victor Ruelas, MA Student, CSU FresnoContact Info

Victor H. Ruelas-Rivera was awarded a bachelor’s degree in Physics and Astronomy from Whitman College, a small liberal arts college in Washington state. At Whitman College he did research on the chemical composition of space dust particles by fitting data of stellar spectra to synthetic spectral energy distributions focusing mainly in the ultraviolet range. He also did work in computational physics and physics simulation where he simulated various physical systems such as capacitor plates, gaseous systems and mechanical systems. Victor then decided to pursue a High Energy Physics MS degree at the California State University, Fresno. Victor joined the Stanford group in 2014 as a visiting summer student and has done work such as efficiency studies of the Fast TracKer, an upgrade to the ATLAS trigger system, planned to operate in run 2 of the LHC. Also, he is currently working on creating a database for the Fast TracKer Data Formatter’s configurations and integrate the database in the ATLAS main control system to load and unload configurations on demand. Victor has interests in large scale programming, quantum computing research and its applications, app development, data mining, and entrepreneurship. He also has other interests such as extraterrestrial life forms, climate change, world politics and sustainable and ecological business plan development.

Rex Brown, M.A., Currently Senior Development Engineer at HRL Laboratories, LLC. Contact Info

Rex completed his B.S.E. degrees in Aerospace Engineering and Engineering Physics at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. While there, he worked with microparticle thrusters, developed code for the Atacama Cosmology Telescope (ACT), calibrated the magnetometers on the Radio Aurora eXplorer (RAX) satellite, and led the Endcap Extension (EE) Chamber commissioning project at CERN as part of the University of Michigan CERN REU. He was also a rank leader and member of the Michigan Marching Band (MMB) and president of the University of Michigan Amateur Radio Club (UMARC)

He chose to pursue physics in his graduate career, and entered the Physics Ph.D. program at Columbia University where he specialized in particle physics. He was also selected to teach the particle physics course in the Science Honors Program (SHP), which is a program that allows high-performing high school students to study advanced topics in the sciences. Additionally, he worked under Professor Michael Tuts on the development of a 12-bit, 40 Msps Analog-to-Digital Converter (ADC) to be used in future ATLAS experiment upgrades. He left Columbia after completing his M.A. in physics to explore opportunities on the west coast, and joined the group here at Stanford in October of 2014. His interests include cars, motorcycles, airplanes, golf, tennis, ping pong, and amateur radio.

Mingyu Kang, Summer 2015Contact Info;Facebook

Mingyu Kang graduated Korean Minjok Leadership Academy (KMLA) in 2014. He joined Stanford University Class of 2018 as a B.A. candidate in physics. He first encountered physics by a science cartoon book about atomic and subatomic physics. No wonder why he is working in this wonderful group! His experience in International Young Physicists’ Tournament (IYPT) also led him to physics research projects. Moreover, he is also deeply interested in producing music, and is planning to minor in Music, Science, and Technology.

Jeff Rowland
Summer 2015. Physics Major, CSU Fresno class of 2017.
Grace Busse
Summer 2015. Physics Major, Stanford University class of 2018.