UB's Wackeroth named one of Fermilab’s inaugural Distinguished Scholars

Doreen Wackeroth, UB professor of physics, stands in front of a blackboard.

Doreen Wackeroth, UB professor of physics. Credit: Douglas Levere

The national laboratory is widely regarded as America’s premier research facility for particle physics

Release Date: November 10, 2016

Wackeroth works in particle physics, a field that probes the fundamental nature of our universe.

BUFFALO, N.Y. — Doreen Wackeroth, University at Buffalo professor of physics, has been named a Fermilab Distinguished Scholar, making her one of the first four researchers to be selected for the honor.

Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory (Fermilab) is America’s premier particle physics laboratory. Located in Illinois, the facility is part of the U.S. Department of Energy.

Scientists at Fermilab partner with colleagues around the globe to conduct experiments at the world’s most advanced particle accelerators. This research probes the fundamental nature of our universe, elucidating the properties of matter and energy and helping us understand the intricacies of space and time.

The Fermilab Distinguished Scholars program — new this year — aims to strengthen ties between the famed laboratory and the wider U.S. particle-theory community.

Wackeroth’s appointment will last two years, from 2016-18. During this time, she will spend at least one month each year working at Fermilab.

She will conduct research in the field of theoretical particle physics, with a focus on performing computations that aid the study of the properties and interactions of elementary particles that hold promise for being the harbinger of “new physics”: the top quark, electroweak gauge bosons, and the Higgs boson. New physics is a reference to scientists’ quest to detect signals of particles and phenomena that have never been observed.

She also hopes to use her time at Fermilab to educate herself about other experimental focus areas at Fermilab, including neutrino oscillations and the search for rare and new phenomena such as the conversion of a muon to an electron and nothing else.

Wackeroth, PhD, was appointed a Fermilab Distinguished Scholar in May, and her affiliation is already helping to grow the UB physics department’s relationship with Fermilab.

In July, she brought UB PhD student Jia Zhou and UB postdoctoral researcher Tobias Neumann, PhD, on a two-week visit to the national laboratory. While there, Wackeroth and Zhou partnered with Fermilab scientist John Campbell, PhD, to finish a research project that could improve experiments at the Large Hadron Collider, the world’s most powerful particle accelerator.

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