It gives us great pleasure to announce the names of the winners of the first IPA Rahul Basu Memorial award for the best thesis in High Energy Physics. The winners of the award are Dr. Lokesh Kumar (Ph.D. from Punjab University, presently at Brookhaven National Lab) for his thesis entitled "Identified particle production, fluctuations and correlations studies in heavy-ion collisions at RHIC energies" and Dr. Diptimoy Ghosh (Ph.D. from TIFR, presently at the University of Rome "La Sapienza") for his thesis entitled “Looking for physics beyond the Standard Model through flavour transitions.”
The quality of the nominated theses was very high, and the final choice was very difficult. Therefore it was decided to award two honourable mentions as well. These are Dr. Debasish Banerjee (Ph.D. from TIFR, presently at the University of Bern), for the thesis "Nonperturbative studies of strongly interacting matter at finite temperature and density", and Dr. Ketan Patel (Ph.D. from PRL/Mohanlal Sukhadia University, presently at TIFR) for the thesis, "Beyond the Standard Model Physics: Grand Unification and otherwise". The prizes will be presented on 17th January at the XX DAE-BRNS High Energy Physics Symposium which is being held at the Department of Physics, Visva-Bharati, Santiniketan. We hope to share further details of the award ceremony with you next week.
The award ceremony took place in the Physics department at Santiniketan on 17th January. The ceremony started with two short talks by Sunil Mukhi and Rohini Godbole on Rahul Basu, his personality and work. This was followed by a short interaction with the award winners Lokesh Kumar in the U.S. and Diptimoy Ghosh in Italy on Skype. The award winners had described their work in two excellent recorded talks.
Lokesh Kumar's work was related to constructing the phase diagram for QCD. For the construction of this phase diagram a beam energy scan (BES) program was proposed at the Relativistic Heavy-Ion Collider Facility, BNL, USA in 2008. The experiment and Collider was asked to demonstrate the feasibility of RHIC carrying out this program below the injection energies. A test run was provided at center of mass energies of 9.2 GeV per nucleon for Au+Au collisions. A major part of Dr. Lokesh Kumar's thesis work was related to demonstrating that STAR experiment could successfully carry out the BES program. With only 4000 events available in the short test run, he was able to provide convincing physics results which played a major role having approving the program approved at RHIC from the year 2010. The success of the analysis of the 9.2 GeV Au+Au collision data establishes the foundation for the subsequent beam energy program, one of whose primary objective is to locate the possible critical point in the QCD phase diagram. This was the importance of Lokesh Kumar's thesis.
The other awardee, Diptimoy Ghosh worked on flavour physics for his Ph.D. An interesting aspect of his thesis is that it looks for signatures of processes beyond the standard model. He played a major role in identifying the new physics required for explaining the large enhancement seen in the [Bs to tau tau] decay rate. He had also worked on constraining specific new physics models using low-energy flavour-physics data in addition to the high-energy collider data from ATLAS and CMS, pointing out implications of a variety of interesting signals involving the anomalous decay rates, the top quark forward-backward asymmetry, searches for Higgs and supersymmetric particles in various channels, etc.
The talks were received very well. The awardees came back at the end of talks for a very lively question answer session. We hope this award will inspire work of equally high quality in the coming years, and wish the awardees every success in their future careers.
This blog post is by Neelima Gupte and Sumathi Rao.