Student Successes

Manuel Lara

Ph.D. in Experimental High Energy Particle Physics

What degree are you working toward?

I am working towards a PhD in Experimental High Energy Particle Physics. My thesis involves studying billions of electron positron collisions at an accelerator facility in Beijing, China (BES III). Filtering these many collisions to study the property of a newly discovered particle called the Y(4260) has been immensely exciting and challenging. 

Why did you choose graduate school at IU Bloomington?

IUB has one of the top ranked High Energy Physics Dept's in the country. The faculty are well known in the field and the breadth of knowledge is impressive from world renown theorists to experimentalists so I knew there'd be plenty of outstanding faculty to work with.

What's academic accomplishment are you most proud of since you've been here?

I was very fortunate in my graduate career for two reasons.

1) In my 2nd year I contributed to a proposal which convinced the collaboration to tune the e+e- accelerator to special center of mass energies. Since then I have spent many months in Beijing working with experts and developing my analysis technique.

2) By my 3rd year I was relocated to Jefferson Labs, where I still reside, to help build and commission the Forward Calorimeter for the GlueX experiment. It took about 2 years to construct this subsystem which consists of 2800 modules in a circular array.

What advice do you have for achieving academic success?

As a graduate student it's important to think of achieving academic success as a state of mind. Academic success is intangible, there are no gold stars and often we won't know when we've made it so we earn it by giving talks, being wrong and learning from that, and by feeling a sense of accomplishment.

What do you enjoy most about life in Bloomington?

It has been a few years since I've lived in Bloomington but those first years will always be some of the best times of my life. For me, the numerous ethnic restaurants are still the things I think most about