Anthony Michael Hodges

PhD. student in high energy nuclear physics at Georgia State University.


I'm currently a PhD. student in high energy nuclear physics working under Dr. Megan Connors at Georgia State University. My current research focuses on two fronts: probing the Quark Gluon Plasma (QGP) using high energy jets in relativistic heavy ion collisions with PHENIX, and the research, development, and construction, of a new, state of the art jet detector known as sPHENIX.


For my PhD., I study energetic sprays of particles, known as jets. These jets form in the initial stages of particle collisions, and they help us study the properties of the Quark Gluon Plasma, a hot, dense state of deconfined quarks and gluons formed during heavy ion collisions. PHENIX is the name of one of a particle detector that sat at the 8 o'clock position at the Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider, and my research comes from its 16 years of data


PHENIX's last dataset was taken in 2016, and it is being succeeded by a new dedicated jet and heavy flavor detector known as sPHENIX. The nuclear physics group at Georgia State is focused, in particular, on the research and development of the hadronic calorimeter. This research consists of testing several thousand of the hHCal's calorimetry tiles and quantifying their performance as they're made and, most importantly, before they go into the calorimeter.

Useful Links for Undergrad Researchers

Research in high energy nuclear and particle physics is heavily dependent on advanced computation and coding. Here I've provided a few useful links to help get one started in learning these invaluable skills

Operating Systems

There are two major families of operating systems in use in the field today, and both are UNIX based. The first is the LINUX/Ubuntu family of operating systems, and the second is the MacOSX family. Both are rely heavily on access to and use of a terminal for installation and execution of software and code, respectively. Below are useful links for navigating the terminal system. If you don't have direct access to a Linux machine or a Mac, there are work arounds, which I discuss below.

  • Quick introduction to terminal commands
  • ROOT

    ROOT is a suite of software that has proliferated the HEP community and become the standard data analysis suite for the field. Becoming familiar with it is paramount for our research.

  • Installing Root
  • Programming in ROOT
  • C++

    C++ is an object oriented programming language widely used in HEP, so becoming proficient in it is another paramount skill to learn. There are dozens upon dozens of resources for learning C++, and short of actually taking a class on it (I personally learn best that way), they're most likely equal. The most important thing is that C++ requires you learn by doing. So find examples and code, code, code! Also, a lot of collaborations now employ GitHub, which essentially allows you to work together on code without creating an enormous mess. I've included a starter guide to that too.

  • C++ tutorials from my favorite reference site
  • git - the simple guide
  • Reading Material

    High energy physics is an immensely dense and difficult field to penetrate initially. The article by Jacak and Steinberg presents a good starting point for those new to the field. All links should be accesible via GSU's network.

  • "The Exploration of Hot Nuclear Matter" - Barbara Jacak and Berndt Muller
  • "Review of Jet Measurements in Heavy Ion Collisions" - Connors et al.
  • Get in touch

    If you're interested in doing research with the nuclear physics group at GSU, specifically working under Dr. Connors, feel free to send either myself at the email listed below or her an email at