Read About Simplified Basics Use Simplified Version Basics Use HYPATIA Downloads Useful Links Contact Us

Hypatia Logo

The project is dedicated to Liana Kotronopoulou, a 22 year old graphic designer, who was killed by a truck shortly after she designed our logo.

Hypatia of Alexandria (370-415 BC) was a mathematician, astronomer and philosopher. She was the first woman to make a substantial contribution to the development of mathematics. She was brutally murdered by a fanatical Christian sect.


HYPATIA (Hybrid Pupil's Analysis Tool for Interactions in Atlas) is part of the ATLAS ASEC (ATLAS Student Event Challenge), an educational project at the frontier of Particle Physics.

The HYPATIA project enables high schools students together with their teachers to study the fundamental particles of matter and their interactions through the inspection of the graphic visualization/display of the products of particle collisions. These products are "events" detected by the ATLAS experiment at new world’s most powerful particle accelerator, the LHC in the European Particle Research Centre, CERN in Geneva.

Overall structure

The students are able to study events (both Monte-Carlo and data) using the ATLANTIS event display. They can accomplish the following projects:
  • Select the events they wish from different event streams
  • Display all (or selected events) one at a time
  • Interact and manipulate the event displays
  • Study the traces of the particles in different parts of the ATLAS detectors
  • Look at reconstructed particle tracks and their properties and analyse them
  • "Discover" new particles by reconstructing them from their decay products
  • Summarize the results in presentation which contain substantial event samples

The students obtain a better understanding of the interactions between the constituents of matter by working on the most advanced techniques used by modern particle physics.

For a start the high school students should use the “Simplified HYPATIA” which can accomplish only the first four tasks.

Preliminary tasks

  • Before starting, the students should become familiar with the background information and the ATLAS detector given in the "Read about" section.
  • They should also read the material given in "Basics" (or “Simplified Basics” according to the version used) in order to get familiar with the aims of the analysis tools and the physics quantities which they will measure.
  • Finally, in order to learn about the different windows of the HYPATIA project ,they should read the how to "Use HYPATIA " (or how to  “Use Simplified Version” according to the version used).

General information

Some parts of HYPATIA can be used by undergraduate and even graduate physics students. For high school students a simpler version of HYPATIA exists (called Simplified HYPATIA sv). Some of the above projects can be accomplished in few hours, others could take more time, depending on the number of events and detail one is willing to reach.
All executable versions can be obtained from the "Downloads" tab. If you have any problems with the downloads or running the program you can "Contact us". These is also a tab with "Useful Links" where you can have access to different relevant web pages.

(HYPATIA will be further developed at a later time and when the actual data starts getting collected.)

CERN is the European Organization for Nuclear Research, the world's largest particle physics centre. It sits astride the Franco-Swiss border near Geneva. CERN is a laboratory where scientists unite to study the building blocks of matter and the forces that hold them together. CERN exists primarily to provide them with the necessary tools. These are accelerators, which accelerate particles to almost the speed of light and detectors to make the particles visible.Founded in 1954, the laboratory was one of Europe's first joint ventures and includes now 20 Member States.
CERN is presently devoted to the completion of the world’s most powerful particle accelerator, the Large Hadron Collider, and more than 5000 scientists from universities and laboratories all over the world are building the world’s largest and most complex particle detectors for the exploration of the head-on collisions of the particles that the accelerator is providing. The explorations during the coming years are likely to change the content of the future physics text books.
The collision points of the accelerated proton beams are surrounded by the largest particle detectors ever constructed. The particles collide in the centre of these huge particle detectors. The ATLAS experiment/detector is the largest of them - 22 m high and 45 m long - a precision instrument the size of a seven storey building. ATLAS is one of the largest collaborative efforts ever attempted in the physical sciences. Almost 2000 physicists from all over the world work on ATLAS. A variety of techniques is used in order to determine the properties of the particles produced in the collision. From the study of a large number of particle collisions, we learn about the underlying fundamental processes and the role of new particles.
The complexity of the detectors is due to the need to determine the identity of the produced particles and to measure the directions and energies of them very accurately. The trajectories of the particles will be determined with a precision of a hundredth of millimeter close to the collision point, and the identity and energy of the particles will be determined with the help of special track detectors, calorimeters and the large outer muon spectrometer. From this wealth of information it is possible to reconstruct invisible particles decaying into particles detected in the detector. This technique is particularly used to discover new, shortlived particles, which only leave traces in the detector via the particles they decay into. These particles decay close to the collision point where there are no detector elements. With the observation of a large number of particle collisions, new fundamental processes and the role of new particles can be discovered.
ATLAS has produced brochures, posters, films and animations of how the detectors are put together, how particles are accelerated, collide and are detected. Web cams placed in the detector cavern show the status of the detector construction.
The Large Hadron Collider (LHC) is CERN’s new particle accelerator. It will achieve unprecedented collision energies, making it possible to probe deeper into matter than ever before, observing processes which take place at large energies and short distances, typical for the very early universe. The particles are accelerated and steered inside the underground tunnel by thousands of superconducting magnets and acceleration devices. The accelerator project is one of the most complex and demanding superconducting projects ever attempted.
Due to switch on in 2007, it will ultimately collide beams of protons at an energy of 14 TeV. Beams of lead nuclei will be also accelerated, smashing together with a collision energy of 1150 TeV.
The LHC is the next step in a voyage of discovery which began a century ago. Back then, scientists had just discovered all kinds of mysterious rays, X-rays, cathode rays, alpha and beta rays. Where did they come from? Were they all made of the same thing, and if so what?
The 27 kilometer tunnel is situated 100 m under ground straddling the French-Suisse border. In the accelerator, protons, the building blocks of the atomic nucleus, are accelerated to very high energy. There are two proton beams going in opposite directions very close to each other. At a few places along the tunnel the two beams are steered to collide head-on. The tunnel is filled with several thousands of superconducting magnets, steering the particles in their circular orbit. In order to save electric energy, and to be able to stand high electric currents, the magnets are superconducting, which means that the electric currents through them experience no resistance. To become superconducting, the magnets are built of niobium-titanium and are cooled to –271 degrees centigrade.
Atlantis is a graphics package especially build for the ATLAS detector which displays the trajectories of the particles produced by the collisions. It displays the tracks together with their signature in the different detector parts: the special track detectors, the calorimeters and the large outer muon spectrometer. At the same time, it provides some information about the particles, their energy etc. The primary goals of the program are the visual investigation and the understanding of the physics of complete events. Secondary goals are to help develop reconstruction and analysis algorithms, to facilitate debugging during commisioning and to create pictures and animations for publications, presentations and exhibitions.
Last modified: Feb 28, 2008