Professor Alan Barr

Tutor in Physics, Professor of Particle Physics

I have been involved in the ATLAS experiment at the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) since 1999, when that experiment was still in the R&D phase. Part of my research has been development, assembly and operation of the precision semiconductor strip detectors. These micron-precision devices reconstruct tracks from particles produced in the very high energy collisions at the LHC, taking 40 million snapshots per second.

A separate thread of my research has been searching for signatures of new particles – particularly Higgs bosons and dark matter particles. As well as searching for (and helping occasionally find) new particles, I have developed many of the techniques which are used to measure their properties – such as their mass, angular momentum and decay modes.

Looking towards the future, my group is also investigating upgrades to the LHC machine and the ATLAS detector.


At Merton I give classes and tutorials on optics and electromagnetism for the first year, and relativity, relativistic electromagnetism and nuclear and particle physics in the third year.

Within the physics department I have lectured the third year course on subatomic physics, and graduate lectures on recent developments in particle physics.