Caleb Smith


Caleb Smith
  • Postdoctoral Researcher - High Energy Physics
  • Physics & Astronomy

Contact Info

Malott Hall, room 6008B
1251 Wescoe Hall Dr.
Lawrence, KS 66045

Biography

I grew up in Colorado Springs, Colorado. I have always loved math, but I first discovered my interest in physics in high school. For undergrad, I studied physics at Taylor University in Upland, Indiana. I continued studying physics in graduate school at Baylor University in Waco, Texas. As a Baylor graduate student, I joined the Compact Muon Solenoid (CMS) experiment, and I worked at CERN and Fermilab during graduate school. I graduated from Baylor in 2020, and I began my postdoc at the University of Kansas in 2021. I currently work on the CMS experiment with our research group at KU.

I live in Lawrence, Kansas with my wife, Katie. Katie and I met in Lawrence in 2022 at Story Hill Church (the church we still call home), and we got married in 2023. Katie studied history for both her undergrad and masters at KU. Katie now works on translating articles (French to English), academic editing, and teaching European history.

Education

Ph.D. in Physics, Baylor University, 2020
M.A. in Physics, University, 2018
B.S. in Physics, Taylor University, 2014
Minor in Mathematics, Taylor University, 2014

Research

My research is in experimental high energy physics. I work on the Compact Muon Solenoid (CMS) experiment, which is one of the four main detectors for the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) at CERN. CMS is a general purpose experiment that seeks to measure the properties and fundamental particles and search for evidence of new fundamental particles.

The known fundamental particles and the forces that govern their interaction are described by the standard model of particle physics. However, there are many phenomena not described by the standard model like dark matter, which is providing gravitational force that holds galaxies together, and dark energy, which is accelerating the expansion of the universe. CMS is searching for evidence of new particles that could be manifestations of dark matter. There are a variety of new physics theories, and supersymmetry (SUSY) is one theory that could explain dark matter as well as other open questions in particle physics. Our CMS group at KU is using CMS data to search for evidence of supersymmetric particles in compressed models. Compressed supersymmetric models have small mass differences between certain supersymmetric particles. The final states for these compressed models have unique challenges as many final state particles have low momentum, making them challenging to reconstruct and identify. For the analysis, we are using recursive jigsaw reconstruction (RJR) and various particle identification methods to explore many possible finals states that have 0, 1, 2, or 3 charged leptons.

The CMS tracker will be replaced during the Phase 2 upgrade. Our research group at KU is helping with the upgrade of the CMS inner tracker, which will be a new pixel detector. This pixel detector will have on-detector readout chips that will send data over electrical and optical links to off-detector electronics. At KU, we are designing, producing, and testing electrical links (e-links) that will be used for command and data transmission between the readout chips and port cards, which will be located near the edge of the inner tracker.

Awards & Honors

## Fellowships

- DOE Office of Science Graduate Student Research (SCGSR) Program at Fermilab - 2018 to 2019.
- LHC Physics Center (LPC) Guests and Visitors Program at Fermilab - 2016, 2018 and 2019.
- Baylor University Graduate School Fellowship - 2014 to 2019.

## Awards

- Texas Section of the American Physical Society (TSAPS) Graduate Student Presentation Award, 2020.
- Outstanding Physics & Engineering Senior, Taylor University, 2014.
- Louis Armstrong Award, Taylor University Jazz Ensemble, 2013 and 2014.
- Advanced Placement (AP) Scholar with Honor Award, College Board, 2010.