The Cern scientist on her dual role in studying quarks and helping to train a new generation of scientists from Palestine to Peru

Kate Shaw is a physicist based at the University of Sussex, where she studies the data that pours out of the Atlas experiment, one of the huge detectors that forms part of the Large Hadron Collider at Cern, in Geneva. She is also the founder of Physics Without Frontiers, a Unesco-backed organisation that runs lectures, workshops and schools in war-torn nations to help kindle an interest in science and help local recovery.

You work on the Atlas experiment at the Large Hadron Collider. What does that involve?
I have worked on the experiment for the past 11 years and that brings me into two different areas of fundamental physics. The first is based on the top quark, the heaviest known fundamental particle in the universe. We are colliding beams of protons together and I study the top quarks that are produced in these collision. It is a great way of probing for new physics, which is really what we built our detector for. We are probing to understand complex issues that we still don’t understand.

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