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Scholarly Interest Report
Frank Geurts
Associate Professor
Associate Professor of Physics and Astronomy
  • Ph.D. Experimental Physics (1998) Utrecht University, Utrecht, the Netherlands
  • M.S. Physics (1992) Utrecht University, Utrecht, the Netherlands
Primary Department
   Department of Physics and Astronomy
Department Affiliations
  • Bonner Nuclear Laboratories
  • Department of Physics and Astronomy
  • Ken Kennedy Institute for Information Technology
  • Wiess School of Natural Sciences
     Ultrarelativistic Heavy Ion Group at Rice
     CMS experiment
     Publications (Inspire)
     STAR experiment
     WA98 experiment
    Research Areas
     Relativistic Heavy-Ion Physics

    Quark-Gluon Matter in Ultrarelativistic Heavy-Ion Collisions


    The nuclear physics research group at Rice University studies the physics properties of heavy-ion collisions at the Relativistic Heavy-Ion Collider (RHIC) at Brookhaven National Laboratory. In the 15 years that the STAR detector has been operating at RHIC, we have learned that  heavy-ion collisions at RHIC produce a 4-trillion degree new state of matter called the Quark Gluon  Plasma (QGP). In this state of matter, like the state of the universe a few millionths of a second after the Big Bang, the fundamental building blocks of nuclear matter behave as free particles.  Investigating the details of these collisions in a laboratory setting is a direct study of the properties of the strong nuclear force that governs the behavior of quarks and gluons.  This strong force is described by the theory of Quantum Chromo-Dynamics (QCD). Discoveries in this field of research are also important to cosmology, the study of the early universe, and to condensed-matter physics.

    We are currently studying in detail the transition between a QGP and ordinary matter, in which quarks and gluons are bound into protons and neutrons that make up the nucleus of the atom. We study fundamental symmetry properties of matter which appear broken in normal nuclear matter but which are expected to be restored in a QGP. We use electrons and muons, that are immune to the QGP as they pass through it, to furthermore probe early temperatures of the collisions. Measuring the yields of pairs of electrons, muons and their associated antiparticles will provide information on particle formation rates early in the collisions and also provide information on the lifetime of these hot and dense systems.

    Our research focuses on measuring specific types of quarks flavors. There are six types, “flavors”, of quarks. The two lightest quarks make up ordinary matter. The heavy quark flavors are only found at high temperatures such as those produced in heavy-ion collisions. We identify particles containing these heavy flavors in order to probe the initial conditions in the collisions. Measuring these particles provides information about energy loss traversing a QGP and further refines our understanding of QCD and the behavior of nuclear matter under extreme conditions.


    Teaching Areas
     Particle and High-Energy Nuclear Physics
    Statistical Mechanics and Thermodynamics
    General Physics
    Physics Lab
    Selected Publications
     Refereed articles

    CMS and ATLAS Collaborations "Combined Measurement of the Higgs Boson Mass in pp Collisions at √s=7 and 8 TeV with the ATLAS and CMS Experiments ." Phys.Rev.Lett. 114 (2015) 191803


    STAR Collaboration "Energy dependence of acceptance-corrected dielectron excess mass spectrum at mid-rapidity in Au+Au collisions at √sNN= 19.6 and 200 GeV ." Phys.Lett. B750 (2015) 64-71


    STAR Collaboration "Measurement of Interaction between Antiprotons ." Nature 527 (2015) 345-348


    STAR Collaboration "Measurements of Dielectron Production in Au+Au Collisions at √sNN = 200 GeV from the STAR Experiment ." Phys.Rev. C92 (2015) 2, 024912


    C. Yang et al. "Calibration and performance of the STAR Muon Telescope Detector using cosmic rays ." Nucl.Instrum.Meth. A762 (2014) 1


    L. Adamczyk et al. "Dielectron Mass Spectra from Au+Au Collisions at √sNN= 200 GeV ." Phys.Rev.Lett. 113 (2014) 2, 022301, Addendum-ibid. 113 (2014) 4, 049903


    L. Adamczyk et al. "Dielectron azimuthal anisotropy at mid-rapidity in Au + Au collisions at √sNN=200 GeV ." Phys.Rev. C90 (2014) 6, 064904


    L. Adamczyk et al. "Energy Dependence of Moments of Net-proton Multiplicity Distributions at RHIC ." Phys.Rev.Lett. 112 (2014) 3, 032302


    W.J. Llope et al. "The STAR Vertex Position Detector ." Nucl.Instrum.Meth. A759 (2014) 23-28


    Chatrchyan et al. "A New Boson with a Mass of 125 GeV Observed with the CMS Experiment at the Large Hadron Collider. ." Science, 338 (2012) : 1569.


    Chatrchyan et al. "Observation of a new boson with mass near 125 GeV in pp collisions at $\sqrt{s}$ = 7 and 8 TeV. ." JHEP, 1306 (2013) : 081.


    Chatrchyan et al.) "Observation of long-range near-side angular correlations in proton-lead collisions at the LHC. ." Phys.Lett. B, 718 (2013) : 795.


    B. I. Abelev "Observation of an Antimatter Hypernucleus." Science, 328 (2010) : 58.


    L. Adamczyk et al. "Di-electron spectrum at mid-rapidity in p + p collisions at √s = 200 GeV." Phys. Rev. C, 86 (2012) : 024906.


    S. Chatrchyan et al. "Observation of a new boson at a mass of 125 GeV with the CMS experiment at the LHC." Phys. Lett. B , 716 (2012) : 30.


    H. Agakishiev et al. "Observation of the antimatter helium-4 nucleus." Nature, 473 (2011) : 353.


    CMS Collaboration (F.Geurts) "Commissioning of the CMS Experiment and the Cosmic Run at Four Tesla." JINST 5 (2010) T03001


    CMS Collaboration (F.Geurts) "Performance of the CMS Cathode Strip Chambers with Cosmic Rays." JINST 5 (2010) T03018

     Refereed conference papers

    F. Geurts "Dilepton Measurements at STAR. ." J.Phys.Conf.Ser., 458 (2013) : 012016.


    F. Geurts "The STAR Dilepton Physics Program. ." Nucl.Phys.A, 904 (2013) : 217c.


    F. Geurts "Dielectron Measurements in STAR." EPJ Web of Conf., 36 (2012) : 0010.


    Performance Testing of the CMS Cathode Strip Chambers, R. Breedon et al. (F.Geurts), CMS Note-2009/020

     Invited Talks


    Dilepton & Quarkonium Measurements in STAR 

    ." 6th Workshop of the APS Topical Group on Hadronic Physics, Baltimore, MD. (April 8, 2015)


    "Dilepton measurements at RHIC: past, present, future." 31st Winter Workshop on Nuclear Dynamics, Keystone, CO. (Jan. 29, 2015)


    "Future Beam Energy Scan Measurements at RHIC." New Perspectives on Photons and Dileptons in Ultrarelativistic Heavy-Ion Collisions at RHIC and LHC, Trento, Italy. (Dec. 1, 2015)


    "Recent Developments on Dilepton Probes." 7th International Conference on Hard and Electromagnetic Probes of High-Energy Nuclear Collisions, McGill University, Montreal (Quebec), Canada. (July 3, 2015)


    "STAR Overview." XXV International Conference on Ultrarelativistic Nucleus-Nucleus Collisions (QuarkMatter 2015), Kobe, Japan. (Sept. 29, 2015)


    "Energy Dependence of Dilepton Production at RHIC." Rencontres de Moriond: QCD and High Energy Interactions, La Thuile (Italy). ( March 29, 2014)


    "Future Dilepton Measurements at STAR." Thermal Photons and Dileptons in Heavy-Ion Collisions, RIKEN-BNL Research Center. (August 22, 2014)


    "Hard Probes in STAR – an overview." 6th International Conference on Hard and Electromagnetic Probes of High-Energy Nuclear Collisions, Stellenbosch, South Africa. (Nov. 4, 2013)


    "The BES Dilepton Program." ECT* Workshop on Electromagnetic Probes, Trento, Italy. (May 23,2013)


    "The STAR Dilepton Program." 29th Winter Workshop On Nuclear Dynamcs, Squaw Valley, CA. (Feb. 6, 2013)


    "Dilepton Measurements with the STAR detector at RHIC." Resonance Workshop, UT Austin; Austin, TX. (March 7, 2012)


    "The STAR Dilepton Program." Quark Matter 2012, Washington DC. (Aug. 16, 2012)


    "Serving up a hot quark soup." Quarknet Teacher Workshop, Rice University. (June 9, 2011)


    "Serving up a hot quark soup." Quarknet Saturday Physics, Rice University. (February 19, 2011)


    "The Standard Model & The Higgs Discovery." Rice QuarkNet Workshop, Rice University, Houston TX. (June 26, 2014)


    "Serving Up Hot Quark Soup." HoustonShakers/TEDxHouston , University of Saint Thomas, Houston TX. (June 16, 2013)


    "The Standard Model & The Higgs Discovery." Quarknet Teacher Workshop, Rice University. (June 28, 2013)


    "The Standard Model & The Higgs Discovery." Quarknet Saturday Physics , University of Houston. (Oct.12, 2013)


    "Future Dilepton Measurements at RHIC." 2014 Long-range plan Joint Town Meetings on QCD, Temple University. (September 15, 2014)


    "CMS Pixel Phase-1 Upgrade." DOE’s LHC Upgrade Strategy Review, Gaithersburg, MD. (Sept.17, 2013)


    "Experimental Relativistic Heavy Ion Physics." DOE NP Heavy-Ion Comparative Review, Gaithersburg, MD. (May 31, 2013)

     Seminar Speaker

    "Dilepton Measurements at RHIC." Texas A&M Nuclear Theory Seminar, Texas A&M, College Station, TX. (April 25, 2014)


    "Dilepton Measurements at the Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider." NIKHEF, Amsterdam (the Netherlands). (September 19, 2014)


    "Putting Hot Nuclear Matter on a Map." Rice University, Houston, TX. (November 12, 2014)


    "Putting Hot Matter on a Map." UH Physics Colloquium, University of Houston, Houston TX. (Jan. 29, 2013)


    "Putting Hot Matter on a Map." Physics Colloquium, Cornell University, Ithaca NY. (March 11, 2013)


    "Endcap TOF R&D Plans." STAR Meeting on eSTAR and Forward Upgrades, UCLA, Los Angeles, CA. (Aug. 29, 2013)


    "MTD Physics Overview." STAR Workshop on MTD & eTOF, Rice University. (Nov.21, 2013)

    Positions Held
     STAR Time-of-Flight offline analysis coordinator , STAR Collaboration. (2009 - 2014)

     Physics Analysis Coordinator, STAR experiment. (2014 - 2015)

     STAR Council Member, STAR Collaboration. (2009 - 2015)

     CMS CSC Online Systems manager, CMS (US-CMS). (2005 - 2015)

     Physics Working Group convener, STAR Collaboration. (2010 - 2014)