Paola LA ROCCA

Researcher of Experimental physics [FIS/01]
Office: DFA 309-352
Email: paola.larocca@ct.infn.it
Phone: 5214
paola.la.rocca
Office Hours: Monday and Wednesday from 09:00 to 11:00 In order to be able to assure the reception to all interested students, it is advisable to book via email


Paola La Rocca is a researcher in Experimental Physics at the Department of Physics and Astronomy, University of Catania. 

She has carried out research in Experimental Nuclear Physics since her master thesis in 2006. She is currently involved in researches carried out at CERN in the domain of ultra-relativistic heavy ion collisions, joining the ALICE Collaboration at LHC (a large multipurpose detector for the study of heavy ion collisions at the highest available energies). 
She is also collaborating with the EEE (Extreme Energy Event) Project, to develop an extended network of cosmic ray telescopes in the Italian schools, and more recently has been involved in activities concerning the application of the muon tomography tecnique.

She is author of several book chapters and more than 250  scientific papers published in international physics journals

EDUCATION

  • 10/2006 – 10/2009: PhD in Physics at the University of Catania (Thesis: “Jet Physics in ALICE: construction and commissioning of the Electromagnetic Calorimeter”)
  • 10/2004 – 10/2006: Master degree in Nuclear and Subnuclear Physics at the University of Catania, final grade 110/110 cum laude (Thesis: “Il progetto Extreme Energy Events: un network esteso per la rivelazione dei raggi cosmici”)
  • 10/2001 – 09/2004: Bachelor degree in Physics at the University of Catania, final grade 110/110 cum laude (Thesis: “Uno studio degli effetti barometrici sul flusso dei raggi cosmici al livello del mare”)

 

EMPLOYMENT:

  • 12/2014 – today: Researcher in Experimental Physics at the Department of Physics and Astronomy of the University of Catania
  • 11/2012 – 11/2014: Post-doc position at the Department of Physics and Astronomy of the University of Catania within the Project “Muon Portal”
  • 11/2009 – 10/2012: Post-doc Grant at the Museo Storico della Fisica e Centro Studi e Ricerche “E.Fermi” (in Rome) within the Project ”Extreme Energy Events”

 

GRANTS AND AWARDS

  • 2018 – University grant (University of Catania “Piano per la ricerca – Linea d’intevento 2”)
  • 2017 - FFABR grant (Ministry of Education, Universities and Research)
  • 01/2014 – 01/2020: Italian National Scientific habilitation (ASN) as associated professor in Experimental Physics of fundamental interactions (02/A1)
  • 10/2012  –  “Galileo Galilei Prize for young researchers” edition 2012,  Italian Rotary Club.
  • 09/2005 –  Best contribution in the Didactic Section at the XCI National Congress of the Italian Physical Society.
  • 05/2005 – INFN grant for neo-graduated students

 

ORGANIZATION AND INSTITUTIONAL ACTIVITIES

  • 01/2018 – present: INFN local responsible of the ALICE group in Catania
  • Referee for several international scientific journals (NIM A, NIM B, Nature scientific reports, Optical Engineering, Annals of Nuclear Energy)
  • Co-Editor for Europhysics Letters (EPL)
  • Member of the organizing committee of some international workshops and conferences (Quark Matter 2017, Resonance Workshop at Catania 2014, WISH 2010)
  • Outreach activity: within the EEE Project, she officially coordinates the participation of several hundreds of students to the International Cosmic Day organized by DESY
  • Scientific associations: INFN, CERN, Centro Fermi, SIF, EPS

A selection of publications that covers all the research activities carried out by Dr. La Rocca is reported in the following. The full list can be found here.

1. Search for long distance correlations between extensive air showers detected by the EEE network

M.Abbrescia et al. (EEE Collaboration)

European Physical Journal Plus 133 (2018) 34

2. Enhanced production of multi-strange hadrons in high-multiplicity proton-proton collisions

J. Adam et al. (ALICE Collaboration)

Nature Physics 13 (2017) 535-539

3. K*(892)0 and f(1020) meson production at high transverse momentum in pp and Pb-Pb collisions at vsNN =2.76 TeV 

J.Adam et al. (the ALICE Collaboration)

Phys. Rev. C95 (2017) 064606

4. The EEE Project: a sparse array of telescopes for the measurement of cosmic ray muons

P. La Rocca et al. (EEE Collaboration)

JINST 11 (2016) C12056

5. Measurement of jet suppression in central Pb–Pb collisions at vsNN=2.76 TeV

J. Adam et al. (ALICE Collaboration)

Physics Letters B 746 (2015) 1-14

6. Fabrication, characterization and testing of silicon photomultipliers for the Muon Portal Project

P.La Rocca et al. 

Nucl.Instr. and Meth. A  787 (2015) 236-239

7. Looking at the sub-TeV sky with cosmic muons detected in the EEE MRPC telescopes

M.Abbrescia et al. (the EEE Collaboration)

Eu. Phys. J. Plus 130 (2015) 9

8. Beam test results of a monolithic pixel sensor in the 0.18 mu m tower-jazz technology with high resistivity epitaxial layer

S. Mattiazzo, I. Aimo, J. Baudot, C. Bedda, P. La Rocca, A. Perez, F. Riggi, E. Spiriti

Nucl. Instr. and Meth. A 796(2015)19-22

9. Upgrade of the ALICE Experiment Letter Of Intent

B. Abelev et al. (the ALICE Collaboration)

Jour. Phys. G 41 (2014) 087001

10. Search for hidden high-Z materials inside containers with the Muon Portal Project

P.La Rocca et al. (Muon Portal Collaboration)

JINST 9 (2014) C01056

11. Production of K*(892)0 and f(1020) in pp collisions at vs = 7 TeV

B.Abelev et al. (the ALICE Collaboration)

Eur. Phys. J. C 72 (2012) 2183

12. The use of avalanche photodiodes in high Energy electromagnetic calorimetry

P.La Rocca and F.Riggi

In: Advances on Photodiodes (2011) INTECH Publishing ISBN: 978-953-307-163-3

13. Performance of prototypes for the ALICE electromagnetic calorimeter 

J.Allen et al.

Nucl. Instr. and Meth. A 615 (2010) 6

14. Position reconstruction in the ALICE Electromagnetic Calorimeter: A comparison between logarithmic averaging and neural network methods 

A.Badalà et al.

Il Nuovo Cimento B Vol. 124 (2009) 223

15. Prototype and mass production tests of avalanche photodiodes for the electromagnetic calorimeter in ALICE experiment at LHC

A.Badalà, F.Blanco, P.La Rocca, F.Librizzi, G.S.Pappalardo, C.Petta, A.Pulvirenti and  F.Riggi

Nucl. Instr. and Meth. A 610 (2009) 200

16. Identification of the K*± resonance decay by topological cuts and multivariate discrimination methods 

A.Badalà, F.Blanco, P.La Rocca, G.S.Pappalardo, A.Pulvirenti and F.Riggi

Eur. Phys. J. C 56 (2008) 1


Insegnamenti tenuti presso altri dipartimenti nell'anno accademico 2019/2020

She has carried out research in experimental Physics since her master thesis in 2006. Her principal research interests concern high energy nuclear physics, cosmic rays and their applications. She is author of more than 250 scientific papers published in international physics journals and of about 30 contributions (talks and poster) in national and international conferences.

  • High energy nuclear physics

She is currently involved in researches carried out at CERN in the domain of ultra-relativistic heavy ion collisions, joining the ALICE Collaboration at LHC (a large multipurpose detector for the study of heavy ion collisions at the highest available energies). Within such project, she has taken part to many experimental activities, for the construction, commissioning, data analysis and then for the upgrade phase of this large facility.

Within this research field, she acted as co-supervisor for many degree theses.

  • Cosmic rays and applications

Since her bachelor degree, she has been introduced to the cosmic ray physics. In addition to many outreach experimental activities, devoted to the construction of low-cost cosmic ray detectors and realization of educational measurements, she is part of the Extreme Energy Events (EEE) collaboration since 2005. The EEE experiment aims at the construction and installation of a sparse array of MRPC cosmic ray telescopes in Italian schools. In this context she took part to the construction of the MRPCs at CERN and is currently in charge of the telescopes installed and operative in Sicily. During the last years she performed several simulations and analyses of the data collected by the ~50 EEE telescopes. These analyses have been the subject of several theses that she co-supervised at the University.

In the last 8 years she was also involved in applications of the cosmic ray radiation. In 2011 she took part to the Project “Nuclear Contraband Detection Using Muon Tomography”, a projectfor the development of a muon scanning portal that employs the muon tomography technique for the inspection of container. More recently she has been involved in a project for muography of Etna Volcano.

OUTREACH ACTIVITY

Dr. La Rocca carries out outreach activities within the ALICE and EEE experiments.
A (not complete) list of activites carried out by Dr. La Rocca is here reported:

- I° Workshop University-schools on educational physics experiments (Department of Physics, University of Catania, 2006)
- Physics on the boat (Catania Port, 2008)
- Expobit 2008 – Exposition on Informatics, Communication and Technology (Le Ciminiere, Catania, 2008)
- Physics on the boat (Catania Port, 2009)
- Invited talk at the workshop “Scienziate tra passato e presente” in occasion of exhibition “Donne alla guida della più grande macchina mai costruita dall’uomo: LHC” (Palermo and Catania, 2010)
- XX Scientific Culture week (Department of Physics, University of Catania, 2010)
- XXI Scientific Culture week (Department of Physics, University of Catania, 2011)
- Talk at the international workshop “I Giovani e la Ricerca” (IISS S.Mottura Caltanissetta – 21 Marzo 2012)
- XXII Settimana della Cultura Scientifica (Department of Physics, University of Catania, 2012) 
- Colloquium “La tomografia muonica: un potente mezzo di indagine per l’identificazione di materiale fissile di Contrabbando” (Department of Physics, University of Catania, 2012)
- XXIII Scientific Culture week (Department of Physics, University of Catania, 2013)  
- Partecipation to a short movie produced by the University webTV about muon tomography (Department of Physics, University of Catania, 2014)
- XXIV SScientific Culture week (Department of Physics, University of Catania, 2014)
- XXV Scientific Culture week (Department of Physics, University of Catania, 2015)
- Public Conference on the EEE Project (Liceo Fermi, Paternò 2015)
- International Cosmic Day (Department of Physics, University of Catania, 2017)
- Seminar on the EEE Project (ITI Marconi, Catania, 2017)