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Candidates for Juniors' Representative

Adrian Nassirpour

Hi Everyone!

My name is Adrian Nassirpour. I'm 27 years old, born and raised from a small country town deep inside the dense forests of Sweden. With a desire to leave my hometown as quickly as possible after graduating high-school, I enrolled into Lund University as a physics major. I picked physics as my major simply because I recalled it being a fun subject in high-school. It turns out that most of my life-defining choices essentially boil down to "I ought to do X because it sounds fun". I Iterated this process several times, and I eventually joined ALICE as a PhD student.

While I'm in the 2nd year of my PhD, I've been a part of ALICE since my bachelor's thesis, so I have about 4 years’ worth of experience within ALICE. I mostly hang around in PWG-LF, specifically PAG-Resonances, and PWG-MM, mostly involved in different analyses concerning strangeness enhancement in small systems. I'm also contributing to the TPC upgrade for Run 3, both in dismantling of the old MWPCs and the commissioning of the new GEMs (if dE/dx doesn't work for Run3, you know who to blame).

I firmly believe that the most important aspect in any democratic organization is to have lively engagement between representatives, and the people they represent. I want to run for Junior Representative as I'm confident that I, as a person who likes to actively participate in discussions and social activities, can energize and engage more Juniors to take an active role in the ALICE Juniors organization, as well as making the process as fun and inclusive as possible. This can be achieved by expanding the outreach from Junior representatives to Juniors, in conjunction with making sure that there are scheduled Junior activities for as many events as possible, be it both at small workshops or large conferences. I also believe that, as an ALICE Junior, your work should feel rewarding, be it when you're in the deep trenches of writing your analysis task, or performing your service task.

I have several years of experience as a member of political groups, as well as a representative in faculty councils during my bachelor's/master's, so I'm well acquainted with the inner workings of deciding organs in large collaborations. I believe that we Juniors are the fundamental bedrock of all facets in ALICE, and it is important to ensure not only that our voices are heard throughout the entire collaboration. I will fight tooth and nail to make sure issues and opinions raised by the ALICE Juniors, independent of background/culture/sex/gender, are handled in a serious manner, and can be voiced throughout the collaboration.

I'm open to new ideas and perspectives in almost every facet of life, and as a Junior Representative I would be open to correspondence about any issue, at any time. Lastly, I strive to create an environment where, at the end of your project, you'll able to fondly recall your time as an ALICE Junior.

Best Regards

Neelima Agrawal 


My name is Neelima Agrawal and I am from India. I have done my PhD thesis in the ALICE experiment and I am currently a postdoc at INFN Bologna, Italy.

I was born and raised in the north of India (Dhanaura, Uttar Pradesh, near New Delhi) in July 1990 and I received my basic primary school education there. In school days, I was an enthusiastic child and I was participating in cultural performances and group activities. I realised the importance of higher education to become a self-independent woman at a very early age, when I was about 10 years old. But I was a girl and with very limited financial strength which did not make it easy for me to succeed in my dreams. My passion to obtain a scientific education together with my fighter spirit kept me motivated and after primary school education I eventually had the chance to attend the University. I joined the Kurukshetra University (Haryana, a neighbouring state) for my B.Sc degree in Maths, Physics and Computer Science (2006-2009) and my M.Sc degree in Physics (2009-2011).

Later in 2012, I had the privilege to be selected for a PhD in the Department of Physics at IIT Bombay, Mumbai, India. With the start of my PhD admission, I became part of the ALICE Collaboration working in the PWG-LF group on resonance analysis. During my first visit to CERN in summer 2013, I was privileged to work in the TPC group for some time. In February 2018, I received a PhD degree for the analysis of Λ(1520) resonance production in heavy-ion (Pb-Pb @ 2.76 TeV) collisions. A few months later, I was selected for a 1-year research grant from the "Enrico Fermi" Centre (Rome, Italy) starting from January 2019. Soon after, I was informed that I was selected for a INFN position in the Foreign National Fellowship program and starting from the beginning of November 2019 I am a postdoc at INFN Bologna, Italy.

Coming to the point of nominating myself for the junior representative post, I am firstly very thankful that I got a chance to present myself to all of you. While working in the globally diverse yet closely bound ALICE collaboration I grew up a lot both as a physicist as well as a person. As one of the junior voices in the collaboration board, I believe that every individual must have the right to present their opinion and suggestions for the improvement of ALICE policies, especially those directly affecting our work (e.g. service work, analysis approval, paper publication policies). I am very much open to gather new ideas and prospects from the juniors and present them to the collaboration. I also believe that the juniors can help each other in the career journey, sharing advices with those who seek new opportunities/scholarships and by supporting each other, perhaps also with some guidance from the most experienced in the preparation of the necessary documentation.

I am sure I will be able to work with all of you by understanding every individual struggles and I will be happy to share my experience with all of you. I look forward to get all the ALICE junior community together such that it can be a more supportive and friendly environment for every individual, regardless of their origin, gender or race. I will make sure that none of the juniors should face any racial discrimination, humiliation, remarks or judgements by any individual in the collaboration regardless of their nationalities. Lastly, being located in Bologna, Italy, I will be not too far from CERN and it will be therefore simple to be present during ALICE weeks and Junior meetings in person.

Simone Ragoni


Dear Juniors,

My name is Simone, I am Italian but I currently live in UK.
My dream is possibly the same as the other people who are reading these few lines.
I just really love physics, and, to be honest, I cannot see myself doing anything else.

Well, at this point I can really say I am living my dream!

I was born in Carrara (MS), Italy, and I have always known I wanted to be involved in physics, especially particle or nuclear physics. CERN had always fascinated me, and reading those chunks of articles in the newspapers regarding the new advancements in the state-of-the-art machine which is the LHC, I really realised that that was it.

When my time came, my choice was the University of Bologna in my birth country. This is the most ancient university in Europe and in the Western World, and its involvement in CERN is huge. The university has groups e.g. in CMS, ATLAS, LHCb, and of course ALICE. Plenty of choice.

My master thesis already was in ALICE, with the Bologna TOF group, where I have helped a bit with the \pi, K, p spectra in Xe—Xe collisions, under the supervision of Prof. Silvia Arcelli and Francesco Noferini, and the help of Roberto Preghenella and Nicolò Jacazio, and I am extremely grateful to all of them and all the group there. 

I like to have a general overview of the physics done both in ALICE and elsewhere, and I don’t mind changing fields from time to time! 

I am now a PhD Candidate at the University of Birmingham UK. This is a great university in a fast development, extremely warm to us international students as well, exemplary of the British academic standards. I am under the joint supervision of Prof. David Evans and Orlando Villalobos-Baillie. They are greatly supporting me and I am benefiting a lot from their knowledge and kindness. Due to their initial suggestion, I grew extremely interested in ultra-peripheral collisions.

My PhD project is, in fact, UPC. I am part of the PWGUD-PAG-UPC. I am studying the J/Psi produced at forward rapidities. It is really surprising seeing how you can switch from 2000 particles being produced per unit of rapidity to the only two muons produced in UPC events! Furthermore, the signal is extremely gratifying…

My aim at the moment is to contribute to the Collaboration with the first measurement of the J/Psi at low x at $10^{-5}$. After that, we will see the results for the other analyses!

I am close to finishing my first year of PhD, and I will be relocated to CERN for a whole year starting from this October. I know of my weaknesses and lack of experience as part of the Juniors, but I believe I can benefit from the advice of more experienced members. I would like to be a pillar of support for the Juniors and ALICE. 


Tomáš Herman


My name is Tomáš Herman and I was born and raised in the Czech Republic. I studied at the Czech Technical University in Prague where I obtained a master’s degree in experimental nuclear and particle physics. 

I have been involved with ALICE since my bachelor’s degree in 2016 and I became an official member in October 2018 after I participated in the CERN Summer School program where I worked with wire scanners on the Proton Synchrotron Booster. Since 2017 I have also been a member of the Executive Board of the Prague EPS Young Minds section where I gained a lot of experience in outreach and in organising events for students and young researchers, among others things I also participated in organising several International Masterclasses.

I am currently in my first year as a PhD student at the Czech Technical University working in the ultra-peripheral collision PAG on the forward J/Psi meson photoproduction analysis. As part of my service task, I am developing the Quality Control software in the O2 framework for the new Muon Forward Tracker in Run 3. I am conducting this work in close collaboration with the colleagues working on the ITS Quality Control as both detectors are based on the ALPIDE chips. In addition, I will most likely participate in the commissioning of the Muon Forward Tracker and the Forward Diffractive Detector as these responsibilities are in large contributed to by our institute and our team. 

For almost a year now I have been the Junior Ambassador for the Czech Republic and during this time, among other things, I had the pleasure of organising the Junior dinner at the ALICE Physics Week in Prague where I got the opportunity to get acquainted with a lot of colleagues from the Junior community. I have also participated in all the ALICE weeks and Junior Days since I officially joined ALICE. Through all of these experiences I have become very enthusiastic about the Junior community and I would be thrilled to get even more involved as the Junior Representative. During the November ALICE week I am also going to attend the Collaboration Board meeting as the replacement voting member for Fernando, thus gaining some experience in one of the most important duties of the Junior Representatives. 

The Juniors are a very important part of the collaboration as they carry out a significant part of the day-to-day work, be it data analysis or the work on the ALICE upgrade. Therefore, I will strive to make sure that the opinions of the Juniors are heard within the collaboration and their needs are met. 

As stated above, the Juniors often work on several tasks at once and they tend to spend a lot of time working as they are trying to get their degree or secure a permanent position. But a lot of us are at the point in our lives where we have a long-term relationship and/or we are starting a family. Combining a scientific career and a full-fledged personal/family can be very challenging. During the recent early-career researchers debate on the update of the European Strategy for Particle Physics held at CERN it has been made clear that this problem is felt across the whole scientific community. It has been stated that some of the early-career researchers feel that having a family can slow down or even stop a career in our field. As such I will pursue any possibilities that can help to push for a system within ALICE and also within the member institutes that supports a healthy work-life balance for all of us.