Dr A T Watson

Position:Senior Lecturer
Projects:ATLAS, DUNE
Room:West 214
Profile:University staff profile


Alan Watson is the Leader of the Birmingham DUNE group and of the ATLAS Level-1 Calorimeter Trigger project (L1Calo) within the UK.

His main area of work is in triggering and data acquisition for high-energy physics experiments. He has worked on the design and optimisation of calorimeter-based triggers for the Large Hadron Collider since the early days of the project, as a member of the RD27 R&D project and the EAGLE collaboration, which later merged with ASCOT to form ATLAS. His specialism is in the design of algorithms to identify features, such as candidate electrons, photons, taus or jets, but he also contributed to the design of the overall architecture and to other elements of the processing, as well as being the offline software coordinator for the project and lead developer of the L1Calo Monte Carlo simulation. He is currently UK project leader for the L1Calo collaboration, and was for many years the ATLAS Team Leader at Birmingham. He has also worked on a range of physics topics, mainly in heavy flavour or electro-weak physics but also in Higgs searches and studies. A major focus of his work in ATLAS in the coming years will be the upgrades of the trigger planned for LHC Run 3 in 2021 and the High-Luminosity LHC in 2026.

He has recently formed a group at Birmingham who have joined the DUNE experiment (Deep Underground Neutrino Experiment), which is to be built at Fermilab and the Sanford Underground Research Facility (SURF) in South Dakota in the early 2020s. This experiment will study neutino mixing, searching for CP violation and intending to resolve the neutrino mass hierarchy, as well as searching for nucleon decays and being studying neutrino emissions from supernova events within the galaxy. The Birmingham group's main contributions to the construction of the experiment will be in the area of data acquisition, both hardware and software, for the large liquid argon time projection chambers that will make up the "far detector", 1.5km underground at SURF.

His previous projects include the BaBar experiment at SLAC, the OPAL experiment at LEP (CERN), and (showing his age) the TASSO experiment at PETRA (DESY).

He is currently teaching second year particle and nuclear physics and supervising final year projects. He has served as head of both first and fourth years of the undergraduate programmes in the School, as a member of the School's Learning and Teaching Committee, Syllabus Committee, Staff-Student Committee and Postgraduate Studies Committee, and has taught a range of modules across all years of the School's degree programmes.