The ATLAS experiment on Scholarpedia

An overview of the ATLAS experiment written by physicists Monica Dunford and Peter Jenni has been published on Scholarpedia. The article is the first in the series on experimental high-energy physics that the editors of the topic hope to host on the website.

Scholarpedia itself began only five years ago as a hub for neuroscientists to find reliable information from experts in the field. Since then, it has branched into other fields such as Applied Mathematics, Astrophysics, Celestial Mechanics, Computation Intelligence, Theoretical High Energy Physics and more.

“Physics as a Scholarpedia topic began three years ago and this is the first from experimental high energy physics. We would like to get material from other experiments at CERN and high energy physics laboratories around the world,” says Laurent Serin, co-editor of the section together with Lydia Roos.

Unlike Wikipedia, articles in Scholarpedia are written and peer-reviewed by people who are well known in their respective fields. The published content is a living material as the authors curate it or entrust the task to other experts in the same field. Curation includes ensuring that the article remains relevant as the topic develops over time. The materials are written for high-school and university students, scientists and people who have some knowledge of the subject.

“There is usually a gap between materials that are available for the non-science audience and the very technical reports. This was the perfect audience to write for, people who had some knowledge and genuine interest – especially students, engineers and people starting out in the field,” says Monica Dunford, who has blogged about particle physics for the US-LHC and The Huffington Post.

She worked with Jenni, who is a former spokesperson of ATLAS and current curator of the content. “We spent a lot of time planning a coherent structure. It was a hard balance to strike as you cannot oversimplify or include too much raw information, and still maintain accuracy in 6000 words on a topic in which you’ve invested your life,” says Dunford.

The ATLAS experiment’s Scholarpedia page, which was visited more than 1000 times within its first few days, was reviewed by Fabiola Gianotti of CERN and Michel Lefebvre of University of Victoria, Canada.