University of Minnesota
School of Physics & Astronomy
Home > People >

Sean Kalafut

PAN 420 (office), 301-9543
kalafut @


Hello! I am a PhD student that loves to read, cook, exercise, and in general staying busy. My background in Mechanical Engineering was driven by a passion for cars and how they work. I was originally introduced to physics through a website called 'hyperphysics' and a novel called "The Dancing Wu Li Masters". I am a big fan of racquet sports (especially badminton and racquetball), and I try to exercise regularly. I love learning about new cuisines, cooking techniques and ingredients. I am very approachable and would enjoy chatting with you if we have a common interest or goal.

Summary of Interests
search for right handed W bosons and heavy neutrinos at the LHC CMS detector upgrades CMS event triggers

About My Work

During the summer of 2013 and 2014 I explored how to upgrade the CMS
detector in the mid 2020s. Thanks to funding my advisor Roger Rusack and I received from the LPC at Fermilab, I worked at Fermilab during both summers and was advised by Frank Chlebana. In 2013 my work focused on tuning a fast detector simulation tool, Delphes, to replicate the physics analysis object reconstruction of the traditional slow, but more accurate detector simulation tool based on Geant4. Our goal was to validate Delphes against the slower, more accurate detector simulation tool, then proceed to use Delphes to study different detector upgrade options and their potential benefits to reconstruction of VBF jets from VBF Higgs events. Unfortunately we only proved that Delphes does not realistically simulate jet reconstruction in the LHC collision conditions (high pileup) expected in the mid 2020s, and that substantial work was needed to improve existing CMS jet reconstruction algorithms to make them perform adequately in the future. In the summer of 2014 I began working on CMS detector upgrade performance studies, focused on the forward region (endcaps) electromagnetic and hadronic calorimeters. I contributed to the development of hadron and jet reconstruction algorithms at high pileup for the high granularity calorimeter (HGCal), and generated Monte Carlo event samples for myself and other people to use to optimize the hadron reconstruction performance of HGCal. Ultimately HGCal was chosen in 2015 as the upgraded detector which will be installed in the forward region of CMS in the mid 2020s.

Starting in the fall of 2014 I began work on my thesis project - a search for right handed W (WR) bosons and heavy neutrinos with the CMS detector, and development of a double electron event trigger for calibration of the CMS electromagnetic calorimeter. Trigger development finished in the spring of 2015, but due to low luminosity expectations in 2015 the trigger was not used until spring 2016. In the spring of 2015 I began collaborating with physicists at Cornell University, in addition to UMN physics faculty, postdocs, and PhD students, on the WR search. I rewrote the software framework used in the electron channel WR search (events with two reconstructed electrons and two reconstructed jets), and drove the decisions regarding which event triggers to use. From the spring of 2015 until now I have spent more than 90% of my time on the WR analysis using 13 TeV data collected by CMS at the LHC.


B.S. in Mechanical Engineering, Physics Minor from UW-Madison 2011