Our Speakers for the 2017-18 School Year

Prof. Dan Hooper, University of Chicago and Fermilab Senior Scientist

Dr. Hooper is a professor at the University of Chicago and a member of Astrophysics Department of the Particle Physics Division at Fermilab. He received his PhD from University of Wisconsin.

He has written two books:

  • Dark Cosmos: In Search of Our Universe’s Missing Mass and Energy
  • Nature’s Blueprint: Supersymmetry and the Search for a Unified Theory of Matter and Force

Hooper has been part of Saturday Morning Physics for ten years.  When not interacting with young scientists, he tries to figure out ways for Earth-bound experimenters to detect dark matter and dark energy directly in an experiment.

In 2017, Prof. Hooper was elected as a Fellow of the American Physical Society (APS).

Read more about Dr. Hooper here: http://home.fnal.gov/~dhooper/

Dr. Elliott McCrory, Fermilab Senior Scientist

Dr. McCrory is a Senior Scientist at Fermilab and has worked here since 1986. He received his PhD in particle physics from Duke University where he split his time among experiments at Fermilab, at SLAC and at Brookhaven Lab. He studied as an undergraduate at Tufts University.

McCrory was the head of the Summer Internships in Science and Technology (SIST, sist.fnal.gov) from 1993 to 2017 and the co-chair of SMP since January, 2016.  He works in the Accelerator Division and in the Integrated Planning and Performance Management department in the Director’s Office.

Find out more about Dr. McCrory.

 Prof. Cecilia Gerber, University of Illinois at Chicago

Dr. Gerber is a Professor of Physics at the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC). Her research is centered on the experimental study of hadron collisions at the highest energies available. Her work involves the development of semiconductor detectors that precisely track the passage of charged particles and the elucidation of the characteristics of the production processes of top quarks and searches for new physics that decay preferentially to top quarks. She has been a member of the D0 collaboration at Fermilab since 1991, and of the CMS collaboration at CERN since 2000.

Dr. Gerber is an elected fellow of the American Physical Society, University of Illinois Scholar, Fellow of the UIC Honors College, and UIC 2011 Researcher of the Year. She received her PhD in Physics from the University of Buenos Aires (Argentina) in 1995, and was a research associate at Fermilab prior to joining the faculty at UIC in 2000.

Read more about Dr. Gerber here: http://gerber.people.uic.edu

Dr. Leo Aliaga, Fermilab Associate Scientist

Dr. Aliaga received his PhD from William and Mary in March, 2016, working on the MINERvA experiment under the supervision of Dr. Mike Kordosky.  His research has been focused on the NuMI flux determination primarily for MINERvA but also extending to other Fermilab neutrino detectors.  He is currently working on NOvA experiment.

Dr. Aliaga received the 2017 URA thesis award for his work on understanding the neutrino flux for the NuMI beam line.

Read more about it here: http://news.fnal.gov/2017/06/leo-aliaga-soplin-honored-2017-ura-thesis-award/

Ms. Cindy Joe, Fermilab Physicist

Ms. Joe started at Fermilab as an accelerator operator and has been subsequently promoted to Neutrino Division Operations Support Group Member to run the underground facility for MINERvA and NOvA experiments. She earned a bachelor’s degree in physics from Reed College in Portland, OR.

Ms. Joe is deeply involved in the encouragement of young women to work in STEM fields.  She said, “I think the most lasting and effective way to reduce the difficulties women and other underrepresented groups face in STEM is to normalize their presence, and publicize their struggles.”

Read more about Ms. Joe here: https://energy.gov/diversity/articles/women-energy-cindy-joe

Ms. Joe gave a fantastic presentation on acceleration operation at Fermilab’s physics slam, watch it here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gb1pTjF_sVg


Prof. Elisabeth Moyer, Professor of Atmospheric Sciences, Department of Geophysical Sciences, University of Chicago

Dr. Moyer’s research interests fall in two main threads. The first includes the use of the isotopic composition of atmospheric water vapor as a tracer of convective processes, cirrus formation, and stratosphere-troposphere exchange; and the design of spectroscopic techniques for in-situ trace gas measurements. The second includes climate (and human) response to greenhouse-gas forcing; development of tools for impacts assessment; statistical emulation of climate model output; and climate and energy policy evaluation.

Find out more about Elisabeth here.

Dr. Ting Li, Fermilab Associate Scientist (Lederman Fellow)

Dr. Li is a Leon Lederman Fellow at the Fermilab Center for Particle Astrophysics.  She received her PhD from Texas A&M University, where she worked in the Munnerlyn Astronomical Instrumentation Lab. She was undergraduate at Fudan University in Shanghai, China, with a major in Physics and a minor in Diplomacy.

Dr. Li is an observational astronomer as well as an instrument builder with scientific interests that include near-field cosmology, Galactic archaeology and metal-poor stars. Her current main work is to study the Milky Way halo substructures, including the stellar streams and dwarf galaxies.

Find out more about Ting.

Dr. Mandy Rominsky, Applications Physicist 

Dr. Rominsky is the Test Beam Facility coordinator at Fermilab. She attended New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology, where she earned a bachelor of science degree in physics, and the University of Oklahoma, where she earned a Ph.D in physics.

Find out more at energy.gov.


Dr. Pushpa Bhat, Fermilab Senior Scientist

Dr. Bhat received her PhD from Bangalore University in India in 1982. Her current research focuses on the CMS experiment at CERN. Dr. Bhat joined Fermilab as an Associate Scientist in 1992. She has had a distinguished career at Fermilab. Some of here current activities include:
  • Deputy Head, Fermilab Program Planning
  • Board of Directors of the American Physical Society (APS) & APS Council
  • Secretary, International Committee for Future Accelerators (ICFA) and Linear Collider Board (LCB)
  • Chair, APS Forum on Physics & Society Events Committee
  • Member, Fermilab Strategic Planning Team for Accelerator Science

Read more about Dr. Bhat here:  http://home.fnal.gov/~pushpa/