I chose to come to Sheffield because of its reputation in high energy physics

Paules Zakhary
Paules Zakhary
Postgraduate student
MSc(Res) Particle Physics
Paules chose Sheffield after considering a number of UK universities and spent his masters degree working on an international search for dark matter. He hopes to use his time in Sheffield as a springboard to study in the USA.

After being granted my bachelor’s degree in physics with high honours from the American University in Cairo, Egypt, I applied for five masters programs in the UK – all of which I was accepted onto.

I chose to come to Sheffield because of its research reputation, especially in high energy physics where there are collaborations with CERN.

Paules Zakhary

MSc(Res) Particle Physics

Also, I am particularly interested in doing dark matter research, and Sheffield is among 37 other institutions from around the world working towards a future third-generation low-background experiment looking for dark matter – the LZ Experiment.

During my masters course I have been working with Professor Vitaly Kudryavtsev on material screening to define tolerable rates from background sources which would ease the detection of Weakly Interacting Massive Particle (WIMP) signals. These WIMPs may be able to explain dark matter, which exists in theory, but so far no experiments have detected conclusive evidence of it.

More specifically, I am running simulations to assess the contribution from all expected background sources, including intrinsic radioactivity in the liquid Xenon, and emissions from every component in the experiment. This extends to subcomponents, with the model accurately representing the physical distribution of contaminants, particularly since (alpha, n) neutron yields vary by many orders of magnitude depending on the primary constituents of the materials containing the alpha-emitting uranium and thorium decay products.

After earning my master’s degree, I am intending to pursue my PhD in the US working on the LZ experiment at one of the collaboration's prestigious schools – hopefully Stanford.

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