Sneha Malde undertook her first degree at Oxford, studying physics. After graduating she started training to be an accountant, but the draw of physics didn’t go away. After a year she returned to Oxford for her DPhil in Particle Physics. The Large Hadron Collider (LHC) wasn’t yet built, so her research was conducted as part of the Collider Detector at Fermilab (CDF) group at Oxford. This used data from the Tevatron accelerator, based just outside Chicago, in the USA. Until the LHC began operating, this was the highest-energy collider in the world. Sneha studied how long particles containing ‘b-quarks’, a type of elementary particle, exist before decaying.
After some time as a post-doc on the CDF experiment, the LHC was ready to start collisions. Sneha returned to Oxford to join the LHCb research group; an obvious choice as the focus of the LHCb collaboration is to study particles containing ‘b-quarks’.
Sneha says: “Right now I’m interested in making precise measurements of properties of known particles rather than searching for the existence of unknown particles. Particles containing b-quarks provide lots of interesting possibilities for doing that.”
One of the main goals of LHCb is to investigate the differences between matter and anti-matter. The measurements Sneha is making will add to this understanding.
Sneha is based in Oxford where she carries out data analysis, but also occasionally travels to CERN in Switzerland. She’s looking forward to many more years working in particle physics helping to interpret the data collected by LHCb.