Daniel Hynds sitting down on the grass reading a book outside with mountains in the background

Meet...Daniel Hynds

Fundamental particles and interactions
Particle Physics

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

Name: Daniel Hynds
Job title: Silicon Detector Development Engineer

What are you currently working on?
I work on the design and construction of semiconductor detectors for particle physics experiments. When protons collide at the Large Hadron Collider at CERN, particles are produced that travel outwards from the interaction point. We place layers and layers of precise silicon detectors around this point in order to track the particles' movement and reconstruct both what they are and where they were produced – effectively joining the dots from each of these sensitive layers. I work both on the ATLAS experiment where Oxford will build a large portion of the pixel detector, and on new detector technologies which might allow us to build even better experiments in the future.

Describe a typical day
ATLAS is a huge collaboration of more than 5,000 members so communication is quite a large part of what we have to do to avoid reproducing each other's work. Typically, that means a fraction of each day is devoted to meetings and answering mails about technical issues – frustratingly reducing the amount of time that I get to spend in the lab! The rest of the day is spent working with our students and technicians within the Oxford Physics Microstructure Detector (OPMD) group, or a combination of making measurements on devices that we have in Oxford and design/simulation work for new prototypes that we plan to build.

If you had an entire day at your disposal, what would be your ideal way to spend it?
If we are talking work then shutting down my mail client and doing real work without having to answer mails or go to meetings! Outside of work, it would probably be skiing in the Alps close to CERN or hiking somewhere nice like the north of Scotland or Italy.

What is your favourite place in Oxford?
I arrived in Oxford during the pandemic in early 2020 so I still have a lot of exploring to do. A walk down the canal from Jericho to Wolvercote is always pleasant though!

What discovery woudl you like to see in your lifetime?
Surely the answer is always nuclear fusion?! Fingers crossed that I live to be 200...