Newly appointed LHCb spokesperson, Guy Wilkinson, begins his tenure as the first long shutdown comes to a close. “It’s an exciting new phase for the collaboration, as there are many stimulating challenges ahead,” says Guy. “We are giving next year’s run the highest priority. In fact, during my first meeting on my first day as spokesperson, we started to discuss what the experiment’s priorities will be for the coming run.”
Born near Manchester, Guy studied at Imperial College London and Oxford University, where he now teaches. “My first involvement with CERN arose during my graduate studies, as I joined the DELPHI experiment in 1989 to carry out my PhD,” comments Guy. “My thesis looked at the mixing of beauty mesons, which is the sort of thing that LHCb is doing. Although I later branched off into electroweak physics, I always maintained my interest in flavour physics.”
Indeed, Guy has been an active part of the LHCb collaboration since the experiment’s conception in 1995. “As a young postdoc, I was involved in writing of the letter of intent for the LHCb,” says Guy. “LHCb had exciting prospects and we were just trying to get the concept off the ground! This was in addition to my responsibilities at DELPHI, but I endeavoured to stay involved in the experiment’s progress.” As DELPHI came to a close in the early 2000s and LHCb became ever more tangible, Guy’s focus shifted back towards flavour physics and his involvement with LHCb grew into full time collaboration.
After this long association with LHCb, Guy is excited to tackle the challenges of being spokesperson: “We have to make sure that the detector wakes up after its long hibernation and goes back to data taking in the most efficient way and that we are able to process all these data to produce high-quality physics results,” says Guy. “Lurking in the background, and getting ever more prominent, are the challenges of the LHCb upgrade. Although this is not scheduled until the next long shutdown, we are already trying to nail down our plans for this. It’s a task that I am sure will keep me up at night!”
But along with these new responsibilities comes an added bonus: “During my tenure as spokesperson, I have placed my teaching responsibilities on hold. This will mean less time commuting to the UK and more time to spend with my family,” says Guy, whose wife and three daughters are all based in the Geneva area. “Of course, my wife is also a LHCb physicist, so work is never too far from home!”