Episode 012_When Protons Collide: Pawandeep Jandir



Meet Pawandeep Jandir, a former particle physicist who worked at the Large Hadron Collider and is currently a data scientist.  In this episode, we discuss his work at the Large Hadron Collider, where he was working at the time of the 2012 discovery of the Higgs Boson! We look at the importance of science and physics in the world today and the ways in which students become and stay interested in it.

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Show Notes:

  • Introduction of Pawandeep Jandir, a particle physicist who worked at the Large Hadron Collider, and a description of the nature of the Large Hadron Collider.
  • The ways particles are controlled magnetically within the accelerator, and accelerated to 99.9999% the speed of light.
  • The nature of the data extracted from the collision experiments of the LHC; data from collisions with familiar results can be discarded
  • The nature of the Higgs Boson and its discovery in 2012 by the LHC experiments
  • What the properties of the Higgs Boson are and what further understanding of its properties can be reached through experiments
  • What life working at the LHC was like versus working in corporate America
  • How the software Jandir produced at the LHC works
  • How groups are constantly checking each other for biases at the LHC
  • How and why Jandir got into physics and particle physics
  • How the challenge of physics was part of its appeal
  • How Jandir came to work at the Large Hadron Collider
  • How and why Jandir moved back to California
  • How tire technology development is important at Goodyear and in the world
  • What foundational skills might be important for teachers teaching K-8 students interested in physics?
    • The scientific method
    • Testing and understanding of success or failure of hypothesis
  • What kind of questions Jandir is asked by students
  • How Skype a Scientist provides global access to scientists for students
  • How initial failure in physics confronted Jandir with what it truly takes to learn and apply oneself
  • How thinking through demonstration problems can allow one to reach an understanding of deeper principles
  • The importance of science and the importance of teaching it to children
  • YouTube as a powerful resource for physics learning

3 Key Points:

  1.  The work of the Large Hadron Collider involves large-scale collaboration in an array of fields and across the world and has produced groundbreaking physics.
  2. Physics can be taught globally today in ways which were not possible in recent decades.
  3. Initial difficulty in an academic subject can be an opportunity for a student to truly apply themselves.


-       ¨That’s our fundamental aim: to discover secrets of the universe.” – Pawandeep Jandir

-       “Our ultimate goal is to have a precise understanding of what has happened, what’s happening, and what will happen.” – Pawandeep Jandir

-       “The very first test I had in high school physics I actually got an F- in, and as a high-achieving student up to that point that was a very big shock, and it was a point in my life where I had to choose what I was going to do, whether I was going to accept that or reject that and try to better that, and I chose the latter route where I did try a lot harder.” – Pawandeep Jandir

-       “[Learning physics] is not some sort of linear path, where you do this, then you do that; it’s much closer to a pyramid where you’re working on one corner and then another corner but it’s going to come together at some point” – Pawandeep Jandir

Resources Mentioned:

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