Oz Amram is a postdoc at Fermilab working in experimental high energy physics as a member of the CMS collaboration. His research interests include precision Standard Model measurements and model independent searches using machine learning. He also works on the current CMS pixel detector and its phase-2 upgrade. When not doing physics, you can often find Oz rock climbing or admiring the beautiful trees of Chicagoland.
Sam Bright-Thonney is a PhD candidate at Cornell University, where he works on experimental particle physics with the CMS collaboration. His thesis research is a search for dark matter particles produced at the LHC, and his other interests include machine learning applications to new physics searches and jet phenomenology. He is also working on the Phase II upgrade to the CMS inner tracker, and can sometimes be found putting prototype pixel sensors in the proton beam at Fermilab. Outside the lab, he enjoys running, hiking, and noodling on the guitar.
Andrew Caruso is a 4th year physics undergraduate student at the University of California Riverside. He is currently doing theoretical cosmological research and applying to graduate schools for a PhD in high energy phenomenology and theory. Andrew is very interested in a variety of topics in particle physics including dark matter, neutrinos, and beyond the Standard Model physics. Andrew has previously worked on experimental particle physics at the NA62 experiment via the International Research Experience for Students (IRES) at CERN program. In his spare time, Andrew enjoys playing hnefatafl (a board game) and exercising, especially using kettlebells.
Marina David is a PhD candidate and NSF Graduate Research Fellow in the high energy theory group at the University of Michigan. Her research focuses on studying aspects of quantum gravity via holography, specifically the AdS/CFT correspondence, and is particularly interested in black hole physics. She is passionate about science communication and how to incorporate DEI efforts in STEM.
Andre Frankenthal is a PhD candidate in experimental high-energy physics at Cornell University. Originally from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, he holds a B.A. from Reed College, in Portland, Oregon, and a M.S. from Cornell. Andre works in two different experiments searching for dark matter using complementary strategies: with the larger CMS collaboration smashing protons together at the LHC, and with a smaller team at Laboratori Nazionali di Frascati, Italy, looking for dark photons (PADME collaboration). His work revolves around data analysis, detector data reconstruction, and upgrade studies for the next generation of high-energy physics detectors, in particular the CMS pixel detector.
Julia Gonski is a postdoc at Columbia University, having recently obtained her Ph.D. in high energy experimental physics from Harvard. Her physics interests focus on the search for beyond the Standard Model physics using the ATLAS Experiment at the Large Hadron Collider. She is also working on the upgrade of the ATLAS LAr calorimeter readout for the High Luminosity LHC. Outside of research she is active in science policy and outreach, and she serves on the APS Council and the executive committee of the US LHC User’s Association.
Joseph Howlett is a PhD candidate at Columbia University, where he looks for dark matter and solar neutrinos in data from the XENON experiments and tries to figure out how to make liquid xenon really clean. When he’s not doing physics he enjoys looking at birds in Central Park and making weird stuff with friends.
Amara McCune is a PhD student in theoretical physics at UC Santa Barbara focusing on phenomenology. She has bachelor’s degrees in physics and mathematics from Stanford University, where she completed research projects in AMO, cosmology, and spent a summer at CERN as part of the University of Michigan REU program. Her current projects focus on parity solutions to the strong CP problem, and she is generally interested in cosmological applications to beyond the Standard Model (BSM) physics, including dark matter, the CMB, and inflation. She is passionate about both teaching and outreach and spent part of this past summer volunteering as a teaching fellow for the Mongolian Young Scholars Program (MYSP) in Ulaanbaatar.
Nirmal Raj is a postdoc at the Arthur B. McDonald Institute at Queen’s University whose research is centered beyond the Standard Model, mostly dark matter and new physics at the electroweak scale, and occasionally within the Standard Model in the form of supernova neutrinos. His favorite things include neutron stars, underground experiments, and particle colliders. Also, cryptic crosswords, writing short stories, and hiking in the Pacific Northwest.
Aruna Rajagopal recently received her PhD in theoretical high energy physics with a focus on studying applications of gauge/gravity duality in the context of hydrodynamics and out-of-equilibrium systems for both relativistic and non-relativistic fluids. She is passionate about science communication and outreach. When not trying to figure out why things work the way they do and prodding the universe for answers, you can find her outdoors in nature with a trusty camera, cooking or writing poetry for friends and family.
Matthew Talia recently obtained his PhD in theoretical particle physics at University of Sydney in the areas of collider physics, supersymmetry and dark matter phenomenology. He now focuses on dark matter direct detection technologies and their applications to different phenomenological dark matter models. Away from the lab, he is excited about teaching and outreach activities for young aspiring students. He has a cat called Newton.
Eve Vavagiakis is a postdoc in the experimental cosmology group at Cornell University, working on the Advanced ACTPol (AdvACT), CCAT-prime, Simons Observatory, and CMB-S4 projects. She is interested in instrumentation and cosmological probes of fundamental physics. When not in the lab or working on scicomm and EDI efforts, you’ll find her on hiking and biking trails around the Finger Lakes Region.
Eleni Petrakou spends most of her time somewhere between solar physics, science writing and machine learning. Before that she worked as a particle physicist at Large Hadron Collider experiments, looking for particles beyond the Standard Model, and at tabletop experiments looking for dark matter. She came up empty-handed but enjoys the journey.
Some authors who have written for us include:
Cari Cesarotti is a Ph.D. candidate and NSF Graduate Research Fellow in the High Energy Theory Group at Harvard University. Her research is on beyond the Standard Model (BSM) phenomena and how to look for new physics at colliders and with table top experiments with advisor Prof. Matthew Reece. She also writes for Science In The News at Harvard.
Chris Karwin is a PhD student at The University of California Irvine. As a member of the Fermi collaboration he is working on the galactic center gamma-ray excess and related analyses that may probe the remnants of dark matter annihilation in space.
Flip Tanedo is an assistant professor in theoretical physics at the University of California, Riverside. He previousy completed a Bachelors of Science at Stanford, Masters degrees at Cambridge and the IPPP in Durham, and a Ph.D at Cornell. He has been supported by a Goldwater scholarship, a Marshall scholarship, an NSF Gradaute Research Fellowship, a Paul & Daisy Soros fellowship, and a UCI Chancellor’s ADVANCE fellowship. He was a participant in the original Communicating Science 2013 workshop which led to the creation of ParticleBites. His research focuses on models and signatures of physics beyond the Standard Model, including dark matter, supersymmetry, and extra dimensions. Much of his creative thinking is done while swimming or driving along Southern California’s freeways.
ParticleBites is directed by Flip Tanedo and Eve Vavagiakis (biographies above).
Nathan Sanders graduated from Harvard University in 2014 with a Ph.D in Astronomy & Astrophysics. He was one of the founders of our parent blog, AstroBites, and one of the organizers of the ComSciCon workshops from which ParticleBites was born. He continues to advise and support us while overseeing AstroBites.
Reggie Bain is a grad student in theoretical physics at Duke University. His research focuses on studying phenomenology in Quantum Chromodynamics, the physics governing the strong nuclear force. His current projects involve the use of “effective” field theories to study the production of heavy mesons and highly collimated showers of particles called jets at the LHC. Reggie is also passionate about science communication and outreach. He co-founded and directed Carolina Science Outreach at USC, an organization that gives fun and interactive science presentations to K-12 students across South Carolina. He co-founded the ComSciCon-Triangle workshop series in the NC Research Triangle and has been an organizer for the national ComSciCon workshops at Harvard/MIT since 2015.
Béatrice Bonga was a PhD student at Penn State. Her main focus was on studying the influence of the cosmological constant on gravitational waves, but she also enjoys working on inflation in various cosmological models and even some quantum gravity phenomenology in the context of inflation. After obtaining her BSc in Physics and a BA in Psychology from Utrecht University in the Netherlands, she realized that she was truly passionate about physics and went on to earn her master’s degree in Theoretical Physics (also at Utrecht University). She is currently a postdoc at the Perimeter Institute (in Canada) and will soon start her tenure track position at Radboud University in the Netherlands.
Adam Green is a PhD student at the University of California, Riverside studying dark matter phenomenology. He also received his bachelors from the same institution, where he was the first undergraduate to complete and publish an honors thesis in high energy theory. His research focuses on exotic searches for dark matter. In his off time, he enjoys playing drums in his university pep-band.
Lesya Horyn is a PhD student at the University of Chicago where she works on the ATLAS Experiment at CERN. She works on the Fast TracKer, an track reconstruction upgrade to the trigger system, and searches for new particles that live long enough to decay inside the detector. She is a member of the executive committee of APS Forum on Graduate Student Affairs, and a member of the organizing committee for Expanding Your Horizons Chicago.
Connor Richards is a member of the CMS Collaboration and a Gates Cambridge scholar doing Part III of the Maths Tripos. He received his Bachelors of Science from the University of California, Riverside, where he was a Chancellor’s Research Fellow and a UC LEADS Fellow. After Cambridge, he will pursue his doctorate in Experimental High-Energy Physics on a Centennial Fellowship at Princeton University, and his research interests center on searches for new physics at the LHC. He is a scientist, tutor, public speaker, and an avid sports fan.
Savannah Thais is a PhD student and NSF Graduate Research Fellow in the ATLAS group at Yale University. She has a bachelors degree in Math and Physics from The University of Chicago, where she was selected as a Student Marshall during her 3rd year. Her research focuses on the search for a dark sector vector boson using the Higgs as a portal, and low energy electron identification at ATLAS. She is passionate about science policy and outreach, and is involved in numerous tutoring programs, works with the ATLAS outreach team, and contributes to white papers on Connecticut policy.
Roberto Vega-Morales is currently a post-doctoral researcher in high energy theory at Granada University. Previously he was at the Laboratoire de Physique Thèorique in Paris France. He conducted his Ph.D studies at Northwestern University as well as Fermilab. He was awarded the 2014 J.J. and Noriko Sakurai Dissertation Award in Theoretical Particle Physics. His research focuses on the phenomenology of the Higgs boson at the LHC as well as models of Supersymmetry and extended Higgs sectors. He struggles mightily with French.
One Reply to “Our Team”
Great information on particle physics!