Professor Alan Barr

Professor of Particle Physics; Fellow of Merton College


Professor Barr has 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 his research has been the development, assembly and operation of the precision semiconductor strip detectors which are part of the LHC. 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 his 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, he has developed many of the techniques which are used to measure their properties – such as their mass, angular momentum and decay modes.


  • Particle physics - studying the building blocks of the universe
  • CERN, the Large Hadron Collider, and 'big science'
  • Dark Matter, making it in the lab and finding what it is made of
  • Higgs Boson searches, and the Standard Model of particle physics