2009 Chadwick medal and prize

Professor Tejinder Virdee

Imperial College London

For his crucial role in the design and construction of CMS; one of the main experiments which start operation at the LHC this year.

Tejinder Virdee’s career has been characterised by innovative approaches to experimentation aimed at maximising the physics output. After graduate work at Imperial College on an experiment conducted at SLAC he moved to CERN where he worked on a phtotproduction experiment and then the famous UA1 experiment at which the W and Z bosons were discovered. Here, his interest in high performance calorimetry was established and he developed the technique of embedding wavelength-shifting fibres in scintillator.

Around 1990 Tejinder and a few colleagues began the task of designing a general purpose experiment for the LHC. This became the Compact Muon Solenoid (CMS). One of Tejinder’s most critical contributions was the technique used for the electromagnetic calorimetry, crucial as this is the most likely tool for Higgs boson detection. Tejinder led a small team which proved the viability of a lead tungstate crystal calorimeter, a technique also subsequently used in the heavy ion LHC experiment, ALICE. The CMS hadron calorimeter used the embedded fibre technique he had invented earlier. The calorimeter performance was critical for the approval of CMS for one of the two general purpose slots at the LHC. Tejinder has played a crucial role in all phases of CMS since its formation in 1992, stretching from design, prototyping, construction, installation, commissioning and initial operation. In 1993 he became deputy spokesperson for the collaboration and was elected leader of CMS from January 2007. CMS now has over 2500 members from 180 institutes around the world. CMS, with the other main LHC experiment, ATLAS, is likely to dominate particle physics over at least the next decade.