The Women who run the biggest machine ever built by Man
The complexity of LHC and the women in charge of it

preview next

... is Director of Research at INFN and is the INFN responsible for the CMS Experiment, which counts more than 250 Italian researchers. She attended the University of Rome "La Sapienza", and started her research career in the field of neutrino physics; she then moved to LEP collider physics and to the L3 Experiment, led by Nobel Prize Samuel Ting, where she worked on the instrumentation for high precision measurement of electromagnetic particles (electrons and photons): this is an issue extremely relevant in the Higgs searches as well. Marcella brought the L3 experience into the design, development and testing of the sophisticated electromagnetic calorimeter of the CMS Experiment. Today, she leads the Rome INFN group that is - together with ENEA/Casaccia - in the construction of this gigantic device, composed of 62.000 crystals.

"As a teenager I was already fascinated by the geometrical shapes and the colours of crystals, a reflection of their beautifully ordered microscopic structure. I used to try different "in-house" methods to grow my own crystals, wreaking havoc in my family kitchen...
And now, I am eagerly waiting for the first proton collisions to produce a myriad of particles for the calorimeter to detect. The LHC crystals are spectacularly beautiful, so clear and transparent..."