- Postdoctoral Position, Columbia University
- Ph.D., University of Wisconsin, 2004
- B.S., Barnard College, 1997
elementary particle physics (experimental)
The beauty of studying physics is understanding how things in our world work. We understand pretty much everything about the everyday world we live in when we do our daily activities like ride a bicycle, go skiing or watch the rain. But when we start looking at what happens inside subatomic particles, we discover a lot we don't know. My research examines the physics of elementary particles and forces which are explored with high energy physics experiments. These experiments take place at underground colliders such as the Tevatron at Fermi National Accelerator Lab (FNAL) outside of Chicago and the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) at the CERN Laboratory in Geneva, Switzerland. By creating very energetic collisions, we can probe extremely small distance scales, which gives sensitivity to greater atomic substructure and phenomena. One particle that has eluded us so far, the Higgs Boson, can give us valuable insights into the nature of spontaneous electroweak symmetry breaking, a fundamental requirement of our Standard Model of Elementary Particles. The collider experiments at the Tevatron and the LHC are currently in a heated quest to discover this particle and its properties to elucidate the nature of electroweak symmetry breaking and the mechanism for how fundamental particles acquire mass. My current research focus is on the discovery of vector boson fusion processes at hadron colliders, which probe triple gauge boson couplings; this knowledge will be critical for the discovery of the Higgs Boson.
Making these discoveries takes teams of hundreds, sometimes thousands of scientists from all over the world, who come together to build the accelerators and particle detectors needed to conduct the experiments. I have a particular interest in the design and production of calorimeter triggers, which help to decipher the signature of Higgs Bosons, along with other fundamental particles.
Experimental particle physics at the energy frontier is focused on understanding the fundamental nature of matter and forces at the smallest length scales and highest energies. In particular, the interactions at work inside the constituents of atomic nuclei are measured at great precision using accelerators. These machines bring particles into collision, allowing us to recreate the conditions of the Big Bang.
I am interested in studying the strong nuclear force, the force that keeps nuclei stable, and the weak nuclear force, which is responsible for the interactions that power the sun. In particular, I am interested in the details of electroweak symmetry breaking, explained by the Higgs mechanism. In order to study this mechanism, I measure rare processes of particle collisions that involve electroweak bosons, the force-carrying fundamental particles. I’ve worked on several experiments, but am currently focused on those being carried out at the Large Hadron Collider (LHC). I am a member of the ATLAS Experiment and collaborate with other high energy physicists from around the world.
In addition to studying fundamental physics, I enjoy building detectors which measure the shower of particles that are created in high energy particle collisions. I specialize in building calorimeter triggers, which help sift through the myriad of particle collisions, looking for the most interesting ones.