Research Profile: Michel Trottier-McDonald

July 08, 2011

Congratulations to Michel Trottier-McDonald, who has received an Alexander Graham Bell Graduate Scholarship (NSERC) for $105,000 to support his PhD program in high energy physics at SFU’s Department of Physics.

Michel has been involved for the last three years in the ATLAS experiment at the Large Hadron Collider near Geneva, Switzerland. His work is aimed at finding experimental evidence of the mechanism that gives mass to the fundamental particles making all the matter in the Universe. The favorite explanation is called the Higgs mechanism, and particle physicists have been on the hunt for many decades to find its elusive manifestation: the Higgs boson.

With the ever increasing amount of data collected by the ATLAS detector, it is becoming clear that the hunt for the Higgs boson is coming close to an end. Within a year or so, particle physicists should be able to tell if the Higgs mechanism is real or not.

Michel works on developing new techniques in order to increase the sensitivity of the search for the Higgs boson. For this, he is testing the limit of what the ATLAS detector can see. There is a chance that such techniques enable him and the ATLAS collaboration to see the Higgs before anyone else.

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