Focus on Livio Bianchi
Up to roughly 6 months ago, my experience in the ALICE collaboration and more broadly in the physics community was entirely focused on physics data analysis.
I spent my PhD period between the University of Torino and the University Paris-Sud, working on the study of quarkonium production in pp and PbPb collisions. It was
exactly the job I dreamed of when I was a student: taking raw data, building-up techniques that could lead me to an understandable result and, finally, trying to interpret the findings in view of the known theoretical models. It was an intense and exciting period.
My first post-doc, with the University of Torino, was a straightforward continuation of my work as a PhD student, always focusing on quarkonium production.
Unlike the previous period, this time I had the possibility to spend more than one year at CERN, experiencing the lively scientific atmosphere that blows along the corridors of the buildings of the Meyrin site. It was the year of the Higgs boson's announcement and of many other discoveries, whose leaks were feeding everyone's curiosity.
During that period I also started spending some time at point 2. At the beginning I was a newbie on-call expert, with many chances of learning and of broadening my idea about being an experimental physicist.
After the first post-doc, I decided to change institute, physics analysis and activities. I'm currently a post-doc of the University of Houston, permanently based at CERN and active in the strangeness field, inside the light-flavour physics group. It has been a big change, but challenges feed researchers' passion, and this has been really my case.
On top of my analysis activity, I've been involved in some hardware tasks with the EMCal detector. This was the moment that I first put my hands on the hardware assembled in the experimental cavern, straying through the narrow gaps between the different detectors inside the L3 magnet.
And here we come to my present role as a Period Run Coordinator of the ALICE experiment. When Federico Ronchetti proposed me to lead the running of the experiment for a full month I accepted without any doubts. It was probably as daring too much at the beginning: no analysis, nor theoretical knowledge would have helped me in the control room. It was really as plunging in an unusual habitat.
But this triggered my deep curiosity: it was a tremendous chance to deepen my understanding of how a big and complex experiment works. I started spending more and more time at point 2, training on the different systems and, finally, on 1 April I started my mandate as Period Run Coordinator (PRC).
It has been a fantastic experience: very challenging, full of responsibility and which made me up day-by-day. It has been very tiring too, but I'm sure I'll miss many aspects of my last month's work when I'll step-back and leave the chair to Giacomo Volpe, the next PRC.