Daniel Cervenkov

Meet...Daniel Cervenkov

Particle Physics

We work among extraordinary people doing extraordinary things; get to know some of them by reading these quick-fire interviews.

Name: Daniel Cervenkov
Job title: Postdoctoral Research Assistant

What are you currently working on?
I am a member of the LHCb experiment at CERN, where I study CP violation – the differences in the laws of physics for matter and anti-matter. I also work on the LHCb particle identification machinery and am responsible for the data quality monitoring of the experiment. Outside of LHCb, I led a (mostly) Oxford team developing a small experiment that is currently aboard the International Space Station. The one person on the team not from Oxford was Mike Foale – one of the most experienced NASA astronauts with amazing stories (and experiment-building skills).

Describe a typical day
Most of my work happens in the office, and I am currently based at CERN. Interestingly, I sit just a few doors down the hall from the office where the World Wide Web was invented. My typical day involves getting to work early and balancing my (too many) commitments until the evening, when I invariably fail to finish all the tasks I chose for the day. I then go home to recharge by playing with my one-year-old son.

If you had an entire day at your disposal (not at work), what would be your ideal way to spend it?
If I could also be anywhere, my perfect day would be spent freediving with family and friends in a tropical ocean. Holding my breath underwater is a supremely relaxing experience; it allows me to 'switch off' entirely and just be present. I do understand that this might sound like a nightmare to some, but it is almost a form of meditation to me.

What is your favourite place in Oxford?
There is a little corner inside the Exeter college gardens that offers both seclusion and a grand view of the Radcliffe Camera.

Plan B: what would you be if you weren’t doing the job you are currently doing?
I’ll answer in a manner that was not quite intended by this question... Not that long ago, I sent my job application to ESA when they announced they were looking for astronaut candidates. So, in a parallel universe, I gave up my position at Oxford because I was chosen for the ESA astronaut corps. :) In this universe, a colleague from CERN was selected instead.