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School of Physical and Chemical Sciences

Dr Seth Zenz


Senior Lecturer in Experimental Particle Physics

Room Number: Mile End: G. O. Jones Building, Room 114
Office Hours: By Appointment (email me!)


Seth Zenz is an expert on Big Data analysis at the CERN Large Hadron Collider (LHC) who became a Lecturer in the QMUL Particle Physics Research Centre in 2018. He works on Higgs Boson measurements, the ATLAS Inner Tracker upgrade, new silicon detector technologies, and data science/analysis teaching to undergraduates and degree apprentices.

Seth completed his PhD in 2011 at the University of California, Berkeley on the ATLAS experiment, studying the properties of jets in early LHC data.  Over the course of two postdocs at Princeton University and Imperial College London, he made a range of measurements within the Higgs program at the Compact Muon Solenoid collaboration and led its Higgs to di-photon analysis group for 2016-18.


I lead on the development of Data Science and Data Analytics apprenticeship programmes within my department, and I am the deputy programme lead for the Digital Technology Solutions Professional degree apprenticeship programme, with a particular focus on the Data Analyst pathway. In this capacity I have developed many modules, and I currently teach new employed-based module called The Data Landscape. My past teaching in this area includes:

  • Introduction to Data Programming (developer, inaugural MO 2022-23)
  • Introduction to Data Science (inaugural MO, taught 2021-23)
  • Statistical Data Analysis (taught 2020-22)

I also developed the following modules that are being delivered for the first time in 2023-24 with my support as Deputy Module Organiser:

  • Data Analysis and Data Solutions
  • Professional Software and Career Practices


Research Interests:

Seth makes precise measurements of the Higgs boson in order to identify new interactions not predicted by the Standard Model of particle physics. This includes working toward establishing the first definitive measurement of the dimuon decay rate, as well as Higgs property extraction in the b quark decay mode.

Higgs property extraction can include Simplified Template Cross Section or other "binned" cross section measurements, or extraction of parameters in the context of particular models. His current focus is on Higgs decays to bottom quarks in association with a vector boson. He is keen to explore all of the "ingredients" that go into such measurements, including:

  • Jet structure and substructure
  • Novel machine learning algorithms
  • Improved statistical combination

He also works on the ATLAS Inner Tracker upgrade and developing new tracker technology (and new tracking algorithm approaches) for future colliders. See "supervision" tab for more details.

Examples of research funding:

  • Detector Development Group Probe Station (2022-23) [£304k, Co-I]
  • Upgrade Of The ATLAS Detector At The LHC (2023-26) [856k, Co-I]
  • Particle Physics Research Centre Consolidated Grant [1.85M, Co-I]
  • 2021 Particle Physics Research Centre Capital Equipment Grant Proposal [£144k, Co-I]
  • ATLAS Upgrade Phase 2 Construction 2021-23 [£37k, Co-I]
  • Spark Award (STFC) for Higgs Boson Dominoes, [£14k, PI]
  • Large Grant (QMUL Centre for Public Engagement) for ATLAS Open Data in Schools [£8k, PI]
  • Small Grant (QMUL CPE) for Higgs Boson Dominoes [£1k, PI]
  • New Applicant Grant (STFC), 2019 [£9k, PI]
  • Zero support Mass Detectors (STFC), 2019 [£180k, Co-I]
  • Dicke Fellowship Research Funds (Princeton), 2011 [£11k, Fellow]
  • Graduate Research Fellowship (USA National Science Foundation), 2005 [£63k, Fellow]



Selected publications

  1. M. Mikestikova [and 49 others, including S. Zenz], "ATLAS ITk strip sensor quality control procedures and testing site qualification", JINST 17 12, C12013 (2022)

  2. The CMS Collaboration, “Measurements of Higgs boson production cross sections and couplings in the diphoton decay channel at √s = 13 TeV,” JHEP 07, 027 (2021). 
  3. The CMS Collaboration, “Measurements of Higgs boson properties in the diphoton decay channel in proton-proton collisions at s = 13 TeV,” JHEP 11, 185 (2018). DOI 10.1007/JHEP11(2018)185

  4. The CMS Collaboration, “Search for the standard model Higgs boson produced in association with a W or a Z boson and decaying to bottom quarks,” Phys. Rev. D 89, 012003 (2014). DOI 10.1103/PhysRevD.89.012003

  5. The ATLAS Collaboration, “Properties of jets measured from tracks in proton-proton collisions at center-of-mass energy s = 7 TeV with the ATLAS detector,” Phys. Rev. D 84, 054001 (2011). DOI 10.1103/PhysRevD.84.054001

  6. The CMS Collaboration, “A measurement of the Higgs boson mass in the diphoton decay channel,” Phys. Lett. B. 805, 135425 (2020). DOI j.physletb.2020.135425

  7. The CMS Collaboration, “Search for a standard model-like Higgs boson in the mass range between 70 and 110 GeV in the diphoton final state in proton-proton collisions at s=8 and 13 TeV,” Phys. Lett. B 03, 64 (2019). 10.1016/j.physletb.2019.03.064

  8. The CMS Collaboration, “Measurement of inclusive and differential Higgs boson pro- duction cross sections in the diphoton decay channel in proton-proton collisions at s=13 TeV,” JHEP 01, 83 (2019). 10.1007/JHEP01(2019)183

  9. The CMS Collaboration, “Observation of ttH Production,” Phys. Rev. Lett. 120, 231801 (2018). DOI 10.1103/PhysRevLett.120.231801
  10. The CMS Collaboration, “Search for high-mass diphoton resonances in proton-proton collisions at 13 TeV and combination with 8 TeV search,” Phys. Lett. B 767, 147 (2017) DOI:10.1016/j.physletb.2017.01.027

  11. The CMS Collaboration, “Search for Resonant Production of High-Mass Photon Pairs in Proton-Proton Collisions at s = 8 and 13 TeV,” Phys. Rev. Lett. 117, 5 (2016), 051802 DOI 10.1103/PhysRevLett.117.051802

  12. The CMS Collaboration, “A New Boson with a Mass of 125 GeV Observed with the CMS Experiment at the Large Hadron Collider,” Science 338, 1569 (2012). DOI 10.1126/science.1230816

  1. The CMS Collaboration, “Observation of a new boson at a mass of 125 GeV with the CMS experiment at the LHC,” Phys. Lett. B 716, 30 (2012). DOI 10.1016/j.physletb.2012.08.021

  2. The ATLAS Collaboration, “Observation of a Centrality-Dependent Dijet Asymmetry in Lead-Lead Collisions at sNN = 2.76 TeV with the ATLAS Detector at the LHC,” Phys. Rev. Lett. 105, 252303 (2010). DOI 10.1103/PhysRevLett.105.252303

  3. The ATLAS Collaboration, “The ATLAS Simulation Infrastructure,” EPJC 70, 823 (2010). DOI 10.1140/epjc/s10052-010-1429-9

  4. The ATLAS Collaboration, “The ATLAS Inner Detector commissioning and calibra- tion,” EPJC 70, 787 (2010). DOI 10.1140/epjc/s10052-010-1366-7

  5. The ATLAS Collaboration, “The ATLAS Experiment at the CERN Large Hadron Collider,” JINST 3, S08003 (2008). DOI 10.1088/1748-0221/3/08/S08003

 Full publications

  • Over 1000 further publications with the ATLAS and CMS experimental collaborations. See full list at INSPIRE



Below is a list of potential projects for PhD students. Other possibilities can also be discussed.

  • Search for Higgs Boson Decays to muons
  • Measurements of Higgs Boson Production Kinematics
  • Applications of machine learning to Higgs physics
  • Detector development
  • Ultra-Thin Silicon Detectors

Public Engagement

Seth is the Outreach Coordinator for the Department of Physics and Astronomy and the lead academic contact for the particle physics project for Physics Research in School Environments. He holds a Spark Award from the STFC for developing his Higgs Boson Dominoes project. He has held both large and small internal grants from the Queen Mary Centre for Public Engagement (CPE), was on the Small Grants Panel in 2021-2, and was on the Large Grants Panel in 2022-3.  He won the 2021 SEPNet Public Engagement Champion award for this work, and was interviewed about it in April 2021.

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