Citizen science: Installing a tool for particle physics simulations

in StemSocial9 months ago
In one of my random browsing of posts here on Hive, the post Towards a citizen science particle physics research project on Hive by @lemouth caught my attention. I've been very interested in particle physics for almost three years already. For reasons such as my love in doing research and curiosity on how these minute particles are identified from the huge amount of data generated by colliding beams.

Although I have a physics background, I never had formal courses about this field. Physicists in our country whose focus of research are astrophysics, particle physics, and cosmology are very few. I did some studying on the fundamental concepts whenever I'd have free time with hopes that eventually, I'd be able to use that knowledge to do [independent] research. But what I have learned at the start of this year is how amazing it is to do collaborative work. Almost two years living in the pandemic, it's only just recently that I have experienced opportunities that brought me to work with people in different parts of the world. From one of my favorite quotes, the diversity is worthwhile, I get this excitement in meeting people, different in so many aspects but like-minded. Thus, I am again, being intentional, in participating in this another collaborative work.

From what I have understood, there will be a weekly task that we will be doing in order to learn and contribute to this project. Aside from this, I've been slowly catching up with some reading materials like published papers linked to the posts related to this project. It'll be helpful for me to understand the concepts as I learn how to perform simulations. Although, one of the goals of this project is to have people who don't know/don't know much about particle physics (like me) to be able to perform simulations and analysis of the results about collider experiments. I see this as open science at work, but done on a blockchain, which is Hive. Here comes two of my interests, colliding! 💥

Week 1: Installation of the [email protected] suite and related packages

The post Citizen science particle physics project on Hive - Let’s get started! served as an introduction about the project and a tutorial in installing the tool and necessary packages for the simulations. It went smoothly for me since I am a Mac OS user and I have experience working on Linux OS environments. I went straight to downloading the file and unpacking it to a folder where most of my work will progress.

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The additional packages lhapdf6 and pythia8 were installed in the MG5aMC prompt. These two packages only took a few minutes on my case.

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I was also informed that the installation of the pythia8 requires C++ and Fortran compiler. Since I've learned that data from the collider experiments in CERN are published and open for use by the public, I've made efforts before to study the tools I can use to analyze those data. Turns out, those efforts were put into good use a few years later. In this, I checked and verified if I have installed C++ and Fortran compilers.

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The first weekly tasks all ends on the installation. But, an optional task can also be done by those who are participating. By typing tutorial in the MG5aMC prompt, options on different how to's will be displayed. For the rest of the week, I'll be exploring this tool and get myself a little familiarized on how it works.

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Before anything else, let’s speak for a minute about diversity and minorities. In this context, I definitely recommend that you have a look to this recent preprint. It is not a long read, and it puts the finger on various crucial points. I found out about this article a few days ago, when it has been released. A nice coincidence ;)

As you mentioned data, I would also like to emphases that our idea is to simulate our own “data”, and trigger the interest of experimentalists so that they could initiate corresponding analyses in real LHC data. For that, we need to show what can in principle be achieved with new signals for what concerns our understanding of models of neutrino masses.

Now, let’s go back to the work done (as you can see, I am easily discussing anything. I hope you don’t mind ;) ).

First of all, thanks a lot for sharing your contribution with us. I really hope this citizen science project will allow you to get fully involved in particle physics, despite of the fact it is small in the Philippines. On my side, I will do my best to help you (and all the other participants)!

It was a very nice read, I have related on those points raised and inspired to know that these issues are now being talked about in meetings. There's still a long way to go for a change to happen, but there's no too little of an effort if it's aligned to the goal.

our idea is to simulate our own “data”, and trigger the interest of experimentalists so that they could initiate corresponding analyses in real LHC data. For that, we need to show what can in principle be achieved with new signals for what concerns our understanding of models of neutrino masses.

This made things clear for me, now I'm getting the big picture of the project. I am more excited to see how it'll progress. I was reminded by that article I've read on the CERN website on how they try to improve their ways of searching for new physics and that includes the algorithms used, I hope I got it right? :)

Again, thank you for making great efforts in communicating science to everyone. What you're doing right now reminds me of this quote from the preprint you linked:

Your first job is to do great physics and enjoy it and communicate your excitement to the next generation. But you owe it to this field that we love to work to increase its diversity.

I'd like to do that as well, even as early as now, when I'm still gaining experience and (hopefully) expertise on this field. 😊

Concerning diversity and the inclusion of minorities, as you said there is still a long way to go. In fact, there will always be a long way to go, as we need to stay careful! If is very easy not to pay attention and go back into the past situation.

This made things clear for me, now I'm getting the big picture of the project. I am more excited to see how it'll progress. I was reminded by that article I've read on the CERN website on how they try to improve their ways of searching for new physics and that includes the algorithms used, I hope I got it right? :)

The idea of the whole project is to propose a new algorithm to search for new physics, somehow, and to have an idea of its expectation. The latter is important if we want to convince experimentalists to embark.

Finally, thanks a lot for your very nice and encouraging message. Last week was quite emotionally intense to me, and everything got delayed. However, the next episode should appear next week :)

This is interesting!
Thanks for sharing!

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