Jim Pivarski

Jim Pivarski


Who I am

I am an experimental particle physicist, studying data from the CMS detector at the Large Hadron Collider. I'm currently a postdoc for Texas A&M University, though I work at Fermilab near Chicago, IL.

I graduated from Carnegie Mellon with a physics major, math minor in 1999 and Cornell University with a Ph.D. in physics in 2006. As a graduate student, I measured the dielectron widths of Υ(1S,2S,3S) mesons with CESR/CLEO.

My wife, Melanie Pivarski, is an assistant professor of mathematics at Roosevelt University.

Contact information

Office: 11th floor of Wilson Hall, end of the southwest hallway
Phone: (630) 840-5139
Skype: jpivarski

Research Interests

Dark matter has been established in astrophysical observations as a gravitationally interacting substance, well outside the Standard Model of particle physics, but all other properties of this substance remain a complete mystery. Does it interact via the weak force? Is it one type of particle or many--- is there even a spectroscopy of the "dark sector?" These kinds of detailed questions can only be answered by producing particles of dark matter in a general-purpose experiment at the energy frontier like CMS and ATLAS.

My current focus is on a search for force carriers of dark-sector interactions through their decay into collimated groups of muons ("muon-jets"). Models containing such a force carrier were inspired by the PAMELA positron excess, which can be interpreted as evidence for dark matter annihilation if dark matter annihilation rates are enhanced by these long-range forces through a Sommerfeld effect.

I am also involved in the CMS search for Z' → μμ by optimizing the alignment of the CMS muon system and quantifying the effect of misalignments on Z' resolution.

I'm interested in several other areas of physics, and hope to someday broaden my efforts in at least one of the following:

  • weak lensing surveys of the distribution of dark matter in space (e.g. DES and LSST);
  • search for θ13 and CP-violation in neutrino oscillations (e.g. NOνA);
  • development of a muon collider to extend the energy frontier with well-controlled lepton targets;
  • modeling of future nuclear reactors to help reduce our dependence on fossil fuels.

I also love communicating with the public about physics, in presentations and in writing.

Curriculum Vitae

(Last updated July 2010)

Selected Publications

  • [CMS Collaboration] (primary author), "Alignment of the CMS Muon System with Cosmic-Ray and Beam-Halo Tracks," J. Inst. 5 T03020 (2009) [arXiv:0911.4022].
  • A. Belyaev, J. Pivarski, A. Safonov, S. Senkin, A. Tatarinov, "LHC discovery potential of the lightest NMSSM Higgs in the h1 → a1 a1 → 4μ channel," Phys. Rev. D 81, 075021 (2010) [arXiv:1002.1956].
  • [CLEO Collaboration] (primary author), "Di-electron widths of the Upsilon(1S,2S,3S) resonances," Phys. Rev. Lett. 96, 092003 (2006) [arXiv:hep-ex/0512056].

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