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/

 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 (where this photo was taken)

McCrory has been the head of the Summer Internships in Science and Technology (SIST, sist.fnal.gov) since 1993 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

Dr. Erik Ramberg, Fermilab Senior Scientist

Dr. Ramberg is a Senior Scientist in Fermilab’s Particle Physics Division.  He has been active with Saturday Morning Physics for 13 years, in fact he ran the program for ten of those years. He has a PhD in Experimental Particle Physics  from the University of Maryland.

Dr. Ramberg received the 2014 Fermilab Director’s award for his exceptional contributions to lab’s K–12 education programs. His work on the Saturday Morning Physics program has engendered a love of physics in thousands of high school students, some of whom went on to work at Fermilab.


Dr. Brian Nord, Fermilab Scientist

Dr. Nord was born in Wisconsin and raised in Florida.  He received his BA in physics from Johns Hopkins University, and his Ph.D. from the University of Michigan.  He works in the Fermilab Particle Physics Division on the intersections of particle physics with cosmology.

Dr. Nord was honored with the 2016 Fermilab Director’s award for his exceptional contributions to the laboratory’s education programs. Read about it in the Fermilab News.

Dr. Nord is a star science communicator. Watch Dr. Nord’s Stephen Colbert’s style Physics Slam presentation here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2D94uuRKTOw

Prof. Marcela Carena, University of Chicago and Fermilab Senior Scientist

Dr. Carena was born Marcela Silvia Carena Lopez in Buenos Aires.  She received her Ph.D in High Energy Physics from University of Hamburg, Germany in 1989. She is a citizen of Argentina, Italy and the United States.  She is the Director of Fermilab International Relations, and the head of Fermilab’s Theoretical Physics Department. She is also a Professor in the Department of Physics and The Enrico Fermi Institute at the University of Chicago.

Dr. Carena will be giving an introduction to science at Fermilab in Spanish.  We hope that Spanish-speaking science students from high school all over Northern Illinois will be able to attend.  No registration is necessary.

Read more about Dr. Carena here: http://home.fnal.gov/~carena/


Dr. Angela Fava, Fermilab Associate Scientist (Wilson Fellow)

Dr. Fava received her PhD from Università degli Studi di Padova.  Angela is an Experimental Neutrino Physicist and works on the Short Baseline Neutrino Program at Fermilab with focus on the ICARUS experiment that has recently arrived at Fermilab from CERN to participate in the short-baseline neutrino program. She has been a Wilson Fellow at Fermilab since Fall 2015.

Listen to Dr. Fava in her own words why she loves neutrinos:


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/