Eleanor’s Higgs boson moment rounds off a great time at Sussex
The discovery of the Higgs boson particle, announced this month at CERN, was a thrilling moment for Eleanor Tubman who graduates this week with a degree in physics.
As part of her undergraduate studies at the University of Sussex, Eleanor was one of the scientists involved in analysing data sent from the Large Hadron Collider in Switzerland. “It was an absolute honour to be joining 3,000 scientists from the world over in this specific experiment on the quest for discovering new physics,” she says. “The result from CERN is a really massive discovery, and one that I think will help to encourage people to pursue science disciplines.”
Eleanor was a member of the ATLAS team, which has been searching for supersymmetric particles that could lead to an understanding of ‘dark matter’, a large constituent of our universe about which little is known.
“I did get the opportunity of visiting CERN as well to see where it was all based,’ she says.
Originally from Hythe in Kent, Eleanor chose to study Physics at Sussex because of what she perceived as the “outstanding relationship between lecturers and students.”
She adds: “The lecturers are so enthusiastic about what they teach, it becomes infectious. This inspiration and commitment to students made me really want to come to Sussex and be involved in the research placement programme. Physics as a course is challenging and very demanding, but enjoyable and at times astounding.
“I didn't come from a science background, and neither of my parents had been to university before, although they were always encouraging me throughout school to aim for university. My father was a chartered surveyor, and my mother used to work before she had me and my sisters and then stayed home to look after us.”
As well as the trip to Switzerland, Eleanor also organised a visit to NASA, Florida, for 19 students, where they met an inspirational astronaut “who made us all remember exactly what it was we were studying physics for, and the wonders that are yet to be explored”.
She now plans are to take a PhD at the University of York within their Fusion research, using lasers and plasmas to investigate how to create a new safe energy resource.” I will be studying there for the next four years, and within that time will hopefully have the opportunity to travel to experiments in this area in India, Japan, America and Oxford.”