Tejinder Virdee

Sir Tejinder Singh Virdee, FRS (born 13 October 1952), is an experimental particle physicist and Professor of Physics at Imperial College London.[1] He is best known for originating the concept of the Compact Muon Solenoid (CMS) with a few other colleagues and has been referred to as one of the 'founding fathers' [2] of the project. CMS is a world-wide collaboration which started in 1991 and now has over 3500 participants from 45 countries.

Tejinder (Jim) Virdee

Virdee, Tejinder 2012.jpg
Tejinder Virdee on the balcony of the Royal Society in July, 2012
Tejinder Singh Virdee

(1952-10-13) 13 October 1952 (age 67)
Alma materQueen Mary College, University of London (B.Sc.)
Imperial College London (Ph.D.)
Known forOriginating the concept and overseeing the construction of CMS
AwardsIOP Chadwick Medal and Prize (2009)
Special Breakthrough Prize in Fundamental Physics (2013)
EPS HEPP Prize (2013)
IOP Glazebrook Medal (2015)
APS Panofsky Prize (2017)
Scientific career
FieldsPhysics (particle physics)
InstitutionsImperial College London
ThesisSigma Hyperon Production in a Triggered Bubble Chamber (1979)
Doctoral advisorPeter Dornan

Virdee was elected Fellow of the Royal Society[3] and of the Institute of Physics (IOP) in 2012. In recognition of his work on CMS he has been awarded the IOP High Energy Particle Physics group prize (2007)[4] and the IOP Chadwick Medal and Prize (2009).[5] In 2012, he was awarded the 2013 Special Breakthrough Prize in Fundamental Physics for 'leadership in the scientific endeavour that led to the discovery of the new Higgs-like particle by the ATLAS and CMS collaborations at CERN's Large Hadron Collider (LHC) along with 6 other physicists.[6] He was awarded the 2013 European Physical Society High Energy and Particle Physics Prize[7] and the 2017 American Physical Society Panofsky Prize for his pioneering work and outstanding leadership in the making of the CMS experiment.[8]

In 2014, Virdee was knighted in the Queen's Birthday Honours list for services to science.[9]

Early life and educationEdit

Tejinder Virdee was born in 1952 to Udham Kaur and Chain Singh Virdee in Nyeri, Kenya. Virdee went to school in Kisumu at the Kisumu Boys High School. Due to the prevailing circumstances in Kenya at the time, his family (of Indian Sikh origin) emigrated in 1967 to Birmingham, England.[10] He credits part of his interest in physics to Howard Stockley, his physics teacher at King's Norton Boys' School, Birmingham, whom he describes as an 'inspirational teacher'.[10] He also remembers visiting Birmingham Museum of Science and Industry, where he stumbled across a cloud chamber sparking his interest in the study of the structure of matter. Virdee obtained a B.Sc. in Physics from Queen Mary College, University of London in 1974.

Research careerEdit

After completing his Ph.D. at Imperial College London, on an experiment conducted at the Stanford Linear Accelerator Center (SLAC) in California,[11] he joined CERN in 1979 as a Fellow of the Experimental Physics Division. Virdee’s early scientific career (1979-1984) involved verifying the strange notion that the “quarks” (the constituents of the protons the neutrons and all other hadrons) carry fractional electric charge. This was successfully demonstrated by the NA14 photoproduction experiment at CERN in the mid-eighties.[12] Following NA14 he joined the UA1 experiment at CERN's proton-antiproton collider (SPS) where his interest in high-performance calorimetry was developed, leading to his invention of a novel technique of collecting light in plastic scintillator-based calorimeters.[13]

Towards the end of UA1, (1990) Virdee, with a few other colleagues, started planning an experiment based on a high field solenoid that would be able to identify the missing elements of the Standard Model (SM) and also to probe in full the physics of the TeV scale. This was to become the CMS experiment at the LHC,[14] one of the most complex instruments science has ever seen. Since 1991 Virdee has played a crucial role in all phases of CMS. Over the last two decades this has covered conceptual design, intensive R&D, prototyping, construction, installation, commissioning, data-taking and finally physics exploitation. He has been the driving force behind many of the major technology decisions made in CMS, especially the selection of the calorimeter technologies. The CMS hadron calorimeter uses the technique he had invented earlier.[13]

The possibility of discovering a Higgs-like boson played a crucial role in the conceptual design of CMS,[15][16] and served as a benchmark to test the performance of the experiment. In 1990 Virdee and a colleague, Christopher Seez, carried out the first detailed simulation studies of the most plausible way to detect the SM Higgs boson in the low-mass region in the environment of the LHC: via its decay into two photons.[17] Understanding that dense scintillating crystals offer arguably the best possibility of achieving excellent energy resolution, Virdee made a compelling case for the use of lead tungstate scintillating crystals (PbWO4) for the electromagnetic calorimeter of CMS[18] and then led the team that proved the viability of this technique,[19] a technique that has played a crucial role in the discovery of the new heavy boson,[20][21] in July 2012. Virdee was deeply involved in this search for the Higgs boson, especially via its two-photon decay mode.

Virdee was the deputy project leader of CMS between 1993 and 2006 and was then elected project leader (Spokesperson) in January 2007 for a period of three years.[22] He oversaw the final stages of construction, installation and data taking with the first collisions at the LHC.

Virdee is a major voice in arguing for the long-term future of the LHC accelerator and its experiments. An increase in the interaction rate by almost a factor of around ten is being advocated for the CMS and ATLAS experiments.[23] To benefit fully from this luminosity increase the CMS detector will be upgraded. Virdee is leading efforts to replace the detector's endcaps with a novel silicon-based technology that measures the energy and momentum of particles to unprecedented levels of precision.[24]

Beyond his contributions to particle physics he is a promoter of science and education, especially in Africa.[25][26] He funds science-related education activities in schools and universities in Africa, India and the United Kingdom.[27][28]

Invited lectures and outreachEdit

Virdee has given several keynote speeches at international conferences, opening or closing addresses at particle physics conferences and public lectures on the LHC Project. These include the 2007 Schrödinger Lecture,[29] the 2012 Peter Lindsay Lectures at Imperial College,[30] the 16th Kaczmarczik Lecture at Drexel University,[31] Philadelphia in 2011, the Keynote Speech at the 2009 Intel International Science and Engineering Fair, Reno, USA[32] and joint lectures on the LHC Project with Prof. Edward Witten in Philadelphia, U.S.A. (2008)[33] and Split, Croatia (2009).

Amongst his interviews are a dialogue with A. C. Grayling,[34] and an interview with Jim Al-Khalili on the BBC Radio 4 programme “The Life Scientific”.[10]

Professional AwardsEdit


Public LecturesEdit

  • 2018 "Exploring Nature Moments after the Big Bang", H. C. Hans Memorial Lecture, 5 March 2018, Panjab University, Chandigarh, India.
  • 2016 "The Long Road to the Higgs boson and Beyond”, J. N. Tata Memorial Lecture, IISc Bangalore, India.[41]
  • 2016 “The Long Road to the Higgs boson and Beyond”, Alan Astbury Lecture, Victoria, Canada.[42]
  • 2013 "The Quest for the Higgs boson at the LHC: A Historical Perspective”, Barcelona, Spain
  • 2012 Peter Lindsay Lectures at Imperial College.[30]
  • 2012 Special lecture on the discovery of the Higgs Boson at Imperial College London (video).
  • 2012 “Searching for the Higgs boson”, Cheltenham Science Festival, U.K.[43]
  • 2011 “Exploring Nature Moments after the Big Bang: The LHC Accelerator and the CMS Experiment”, 16th Kaczmarczik Lecture, Drexel University, Philadelphia, U.S.A.[31]
  • 2009 “Discovering the Quantum Universe; The LHC Project at CERN”, Keynote Speaker at the Intel Science and Engineering Fair in Reno, U.S.A.[44] (video)
  • 2008 “Discovering the Quantum Universe; The LHC Project at CERN”, International Conference on High Energy Physics, Philadelphia, USA with Prof. E. Witten.[33]
  • 2007 “Discovering the Quantum Universe: The Large Hadron Collider Project at CERN”, 20th Schrodinger Lecture, Centennial of Imperial College: London, U.K.[29] (video)

Video and RadioEdit

  • 2013 Participated in workshops promoting science education in Africa to Secondary Schools students with the BBC World Service programmes for “BBC Festival of Science Africa”, broadcast from Makerere University, Kampala, Uganda.[25] (audio)
  • 2012 Featured on the BBC Radio programme, “Life Scientific”, that discusses the scientific life of individual scientists, 20 March 2012.[10] (audio)
  • 2009 Dialogue on the LHC project and CMS with Prof. A. C. Grayling, broadcast on BBC World Service programme “Exchanges at the Frontier”.[34] (audio | video)

Other RecognitionEdit

  • 2015 Awarded the Outstanding Achievement in Science and Technology award at The Asian Awards[45]
  • 2014 Asian Achievers Awards: Professional of the Year.[46]
  • 2013 GG2 Award.[47]
  • 2010 The Sikh Awards: Sikhs in Education.[48]
  • 2010 Named 62nd in “EUREKA 100: The Science List” - The London Times' 100 most important figures in British science.[49]
  • 2007 Named in the list of “100 Personalities that make Swiss Romandie”; l’Hebdo magazine, Switzerland.[50]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "Imperial College Reference".
  2. ^ "CERN Courier Article: Inside story: the search in CMS for the Higgs boson". CERN Courier. Retrieved 7 December 2012.
  3. ^ "Fellow of the Royal Society".
  4. ^ a b "2007 HEPP Prize". Retrieved 7 December 2012.
  5. ^ a b "Chadwick Medal".
  6. ^ "2012 Special Fundamental Physics Prize". Retrieved 11 December 2012.

    Virdee plans to use the money to support science in schools in Sub-Saharan Africa—see Peter Woit (12 June 2013). "Nature on the new Nobels". Not Even Wrong. Retrieved 22 June 2013.

  7. ^ a b "2013 European Physical Society High Energy Physics Prize" (PDF).
  8. ^ "W.K.H. Panofsky Prize in Experimental Particle Physics". APS Physics. Retrieved 5 January 2017.
  9. ^ "Knighthood" (PDF). British Government. Retrieved 12 July 2014.
  10. ^ a b c d "BBC World Service: Life Scientific".
  11. ^ EThOS uk.bl.ethos.476103, uk.bl.ethos.476103
  12. ^ Astbury, P.; et al. (1 March 1985). "Measurement of deep inelastic Compton scattering of high energy photons". Physics Letters B (Submitted manuscript). 152 (5–6): 419–427. Bibcode:1985PhLB..152..419A. doi:10.1016/0370-2693(85)90521-0.
  13. ^ a b Albrow, M.G.; Arnison, G.; Bunn, J.; Clarke, D.; Cochet, C.; Colas, P.; Dallman, D.; de Brion, J.P.; Denby, B.; Eisenhandler, E.; Garvey, J.; Grayer, G.; Hill, D.; Krammer, M.; Locci, E.; Pigot, C.; Robinson, D.; Siotis, I.; Sobie, R.; Szoncso, F.; Verrecchia, P.; Virdee, T.S.; Wahl, H.D.; Wildish, A.; Wulz, C.-E. (31 March 1987). "A uranium scintillator calorimeter with plastic-fibre readout". Nuclear Instruments and Methods in Physics Research Section A: Accelerators, Spectrometers, Detectors and Associated Equipment (Submitted manuscript). 256 (1): 23–37. Bibcode:1987NIMPA.256...23A. doi:10.1016/0168-9002(87)91035-7.
  14. ^ "CMS Letter of Intent". Retrieved 7 December 2012.
  15. ^ Ellis, N; Virdee, T S (1 December 1994). "Experimental Challenges in High-Luminosity Collider Physics". Annual Review of Nuclear and Particle Science. 44 (1): 609–653. Bibcode:1994ARNPS..44..609E. doi:10.1146/annurev.ns.44.120194.003141.
  16. ^ Virdee, T. S. (16 January 2012). "Physics requirements for the design of the ATLAS and CMS experiments at the Large Hadron Collider". Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society A: Mathematical, Physical and Engineering Sciences. 370 (1961): 876–891. Bibcode:2012RSPTA.370..876V. doi:10.1098/rsta.2011.0459. PMID 22253241.
  17. ^ "Photon decay modes of the intermediate mass Higgs" (PDF).
  18. ^ Virdee, T. S. (1993). "A Crystal calorimeter for CMS at LHC": 347–356. Retrieved 7 December 2012. Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  19. ^ "Studies of Lead Tungstate Crystal Matrices in High Energy Beams for the CMS Electromagnetic Calorimeter at the LHC" (PDF).
  20. ^ The CMS Collaboration; Khachatryan, V.; Sirunyan, A.M.; Tumasyan, A.; Adam, W.; Aguilo, E.; Bergauer, T.; Dragicevic, M.; Erö, J.; Fabjan, C.; Friedl, M.; Frühwirth, R.; Ghete, V.M.; Hammer, J.; Hoch, M.; Hörmann, N.; Hrubec, J.; Jeitler, M.; Kiesenhofer, W.; Knünz, V.; Krammer, M.; Krätschmer, I.; Liko, D.; Majerotto, W.; Mikulec, I.; Pernicka, M.; Rahbaran, B.; Rohringer, C.; Rohringer, H.; et al. (2012). "Observation of a new boson at a mass of 125 GeV with the CMS experiment at the LHC". Physics Letters B. 716 (2012): 30. arXiv:1207.7235. Bibcode:2012PhLB..716...30C. doi:10.1016/j.physletb.2012.08.021.
  21. ^ Della Negra, M.; Jenni, P.; Virdee, T. S. (20 December 2012). "Journey in the Search for the Higgs Boson: The ATLAS and CMS Experiments at the Large Hadron Collider". Science. 338 (6114): 1560–1568. Bibcode:2012Sci...338.1560D. doi:10.1126/science.1230827. PMID 23258886.
  22. ^ "Elected Spokesperson for 3 years". Cern Bulletin. 2006.
  23. ^ Gianotti, F.; Mangano, M. L.; Virdee, T. (2005). "Physics potential and experimental challenges of the LHC luminosity upgrade". The European Physical Journal C (Submitted manuscript). 39 (3): 293–333. arXiv:hep-ph/0204087. Bibcode:2005EPJC...39..293G. doi:10.1140/epjc/s2004-02061-6.
  24. ^ "Exploring the Terascale at LHC with Novel Highly Granular Calorimeters". European Research Council. European Research Council. Retrieved 2 April 2018.
  25. ^ a b "CERN and Science in Africa". Retrieved 17 May 2014.
  26. ^ "Applications invited for Africa projects grant scheme". Institute of Physics. Institute of Physics. Retrieved 20 August 2016.
  27. ^ "Support and grants". IOP Institute of Physics. IOP Institute of Physics. Retrieved 6 June 2019.
  28. ^ "IOP Institute of Physics Blog". IOP. 15 March 2018. Retrieved 6 June 2019.
  29. ^ a b "2007 Schrödinger Lecture". Retrieved 10 December 2012.
  30. ^ a b "2012 Peter Lindsay Memorial Lecture". Retrieved 10 December 2012.
  31. ^ a b "16th Annual Kaczmarczik Lecture". Archived from the original on 19 January 2013. Retrieved 10 December 2012.
  32. ^ "2009 Intel International Science and Engineering Fair". Retrieved 10 December 2012.
  33. ^ a b "2008 Joint Lectures: Virdee and Witten".
  34. ^ a b "A.C. Grayling: Exchanges At The Frontier 2009". Retrieved 10 December 2012.
  35. ^ "324 to receive PhD degrees at PU convocation". The Times of India. The Times of India. Retrieved 2 April 2018.
  36. ^ "2018 Norman F. Ramsey Prize in Atomic, Molecular and Optical Physics, and in Precision Tests of Fundamental Laws and Symmetries Recipient". APS Physics. Retrieved 2 April 2018.
  37. ^ "2015 Glazebrook Medal". IOP. IOP. Retrieved 13 September 2015.
  38. ^ "Docteur Honoris Causa de l'Université Claude Bernard Lyon". Archived from the original on 21 December 2013.
  39. ^ "Honorary Doctor of Science, Queen Mary University". Retrieved 21 December 2013.
  40. ^ "Fundamental Physics Prize - News". Fundamental Physics Prize. Archived from the original on 14 December 2012. Retrieved 11 December 2012.
  41. ^ "Connect" (PDF). Indian Institute of Science. Indian Institute of Science. Retrieved 5 February 2017.
  42. ^ "Alan Astbury Public Lecture Series". University of Victoria. University of Victoria. Retrieved 5 February 2017.
  43. ^ "Cheltenham Science Festival Brochure 2012, Page 17". Retrieved 17 May 2014.
  44. ^ "CERN welcomes 13 Intel ISEF pre-college winners". CERN. Retrieved 17 May 2014.
  45. ^ "Asian Awards 2015: All the winners from the star-studded bash". 17 April 2015.
  46. ^ "2014 Asian Achievers Award". Retrieved 8 January 2015.
  47. ^ "GG2 Award".
  48. ^ "2010 Sikh Award". Retrieved 26 December 2013.
  49. ^ "2010 Eureka 100: The Science List". The Times. Retrieved 7 December 2012.
  50. ^ "100 Personalities that make Swiss Romandie" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 25 April 2013.

External linksEdit