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Published:May 31st, 2007 09:13 EST
URA selects Tim Scanlon as thesis competition winner

URA selects Tim Scanlon as thesis competition winner

By SOP newswire

Each year, the URA Thesis Award Committee bestows a plaque and a check on a deserving graduate at the annual Users Meeting. This year is no exception, with the committee unanimously choosing to honor Tim Scanlon, a graduate student at Imperial College, London while he was working as a collaborator on DZero.

Scanlon's thesis, "b-Tagging and the Search for Neutral Supersymmetric Higgs Bosons at DZero," discusses the efforts to develop an artificial neural network to recognize b-jets and reject other, short-lived jets using information available about jet lifetime. The neural network b-tagging tool greatly increased DZero's ability to identify b-jets, increasing their b-tagging efficiency by more than 30 percent. "The improvement increases Fermilab's chances of finding the Higgs. Scanlon used his method to search for neural supersymmetric Higgs bosons in multi-jet data.

"As the Higgs decays to two b-jets, and as most of the jets in our background contain no b-jets, identifying b-jets is a powerful tool that allows us to massively increase the number of signal events compared to a number of background events," Scanlon said. His thesis also included his work on improving the trigger tracking code and in leading the development of a b-tagging tool that searches for secondary decay points at the trigger level.

"I'm delighted that Tim has won this award. He's made major contributions to the experiment in several areas: developing a neural net b-tagger, improving the Level-3 tracking code and in the hbb analysis," said Gavin Davies, Scanlon's advisor at Imperial College London.

Scanlon's thesis was chosen from among 15 nominations for its superior combination of originality, physics content and clarity of presentation. "Tim's dissertation, for most of us, was a complete body of work," said Fermilab's Rick Tesarek, chair of the URA Thesis Committee. "He was able to describe both experience and analysis, and it was clear that he had made substantial contributions to the experiment."

On Thursday, June 7, at the Users' meeting, Scanlon will receive a plaque and a $3,000 award funded by the Universities Research Association. He will also give a short talk about his thesis research. View Scanlon's thesis here.

-- Rhianna Wisniewski