Former DZero collaborator wins URA award
Mikko Voutilainen accepts the URA Thesis Award from URA president Fred Bernthal.
Mikko Voutilainen knew his graduate student work on DZero would help ease analysis of LHC data.
But he didn't know he would eventually benefit from that work himself as a member of CMS working at CERN, or that it would earn him the 2008 URA Thesis Award.
"I was jumping up and down when I got the call about the award," Voutilainen said.
He flew to Fermilab last week to receive the award for his work on jet cross section at the 42nd annual Users' Meeting. Winners are judged on the basis of originality, physics content and clarity of presentation.
Voutilainen's work was selected out of 22 nominations, the largest number since the contest's inception 12 years ago. This was the first time two nominations were for astrophysics research, said Fred Bernthal, URA president.
Voutilainen's thesis "Measurement of the Inclusive Jet Cross Section in p-pbar Collisons at square root of s=1.96 TeV" is a detailed study of the elements required to measure the inclusive jet cross section at the Tevatron. His measurement of the jet energy scale produced a result twice as precise as previous results in that scale.
"Mikko's analysis significantly constrains the Parton Distribution Functions, and will therefore be directly relevant to the study of physics processes from the LHC," said Steve Brice, award committee chair.
The analysis looked at kinematics and pinned down the distribution of constituents in protons and antiprotons. Voutilainen worked on his thesis during the 3 1/2 years he was at DZero. He also worked on Quantum Chromodynamics studies.
He enjoyed his time at Fermilab and said returning for the Users' Meeting was like coming back home.
"It is important to recognize young people like Mikko are vital to the success of Fermilab," Bernthal said.