Alexey Titov - 1997


Observation and study of exclusive decays of beauty baryons at the Tevatron proton-antiproton collider


Alexey Titov studied beauty baryons. He actually discovered a beauty baryon and made a very precise measurement of its mass, but in his modesty he called the discovery an "observation".

You can think of a beauty baryon as a proton, in which one of its three quarks has been replaced by a ``beauty" quark. Beauty is the name given to one of the six known quarks of which our universe is made. Two of these quarks, named ``up" and ``down" (what is in a name?) exist within ordinary matter. The other four (charm, strange, top and beauty) played a role in the formation of the universe, but are now extinct. To find out exactly what role they played, one has to replay the show of genesis in minature. At the Fermilab National Laboratory, the extinct quarks are created in high energy collisions between protons and antiprotons (how you get the antiprotons is another matter!). It took about one trillion collisions to yield a handful of beauty baryons in a form suitable for study. Since they live only about a trillionth of a second before they decay into other (more normal) particles, they can only be identified by careful measurements of the directions and velocities of their decay products. This is a herculian task that requires technical skills, patience, hard work and a lot of talent.

Alexey came from Kharkov, Russia (now the Ukrane), with all of these qualities and did a great job. In the first steps of his career as a scientist, he was rewarded with the excitement of discovery, which is the highest reward that any scientist can dream of. His accomplishment in science was matched by a personal accomplishment: he and his wife Julia created another family of quarks, a pair of twins, Anton and Denis (I never asked, but knowing Alexey's fairness and objectivity, I assume that the names were given in alphabetical order on a first-come basis).

Alexey's parents are here today and I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate them on Alexey's accomplishments.

Mr. President, it is with great pride that I present to you Alexey Titov for the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy.