Graduate Student Wins Top Award for Particle Physics Dissertation

March 20, 2006

Maria Florencia Canelli, a recent doctoral student at the University of Rochester, won the American Physical Society's 2005 Mitsuyoshi Tanaka Dissertation Award in Experimental Particle Physics.

Her dissertation, completed in 2003 at Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory in Batavia, Ill., under the supervision of Thomas Ferbel, professor of physics at Rochester, bested all other doctoral theses from around the world. The Tanaka Award recognizes exceptional young scientists who performed outstanding original doctoral work in experimental particle physics.

"Florencia was an inexhaustible bundle of energy and great fun to work with during her graduate years," said Ferbel. "Her development at Fermilab has been quite breathtaking, and she continues to impress me with her determination, her vigor, and her insights."

Canelli helped develop and implement a new and far more effective technique to measure the spins of "W bosons." The standard model of particle physics predicts that these W bosons have negative helicity, meaning they spin like left-handed screws. Finding evidence for W bosons of right-handed helicity would revolutionize the currently accepted understanding of particle interactions. This makes the measurement extraordinarily important to physics.

Canelli says she felt "proud and thankful" when she heard that she won the award, which consists of $1,500 and an allowance of up to $1,000 for travel to attend the annual meeting of the Division of Particles and Fields where the award will be presented. "I could never have done this without the help of Tom Ferbel," said Canelli.

Canelli is currently a postdoctoral student at the University of California at Los Angeles and is stationed at Fermilab where she is the head of a group studying a top quark experiment. Before coming to Rochester, Canelli studied at the Universities of Asuncion, Paraguay, and Buenos Aires, Argentina. She has been very active in outreach activities, and helped found the Young Particle Physicists organization. She served as a member of Fermilab Users' Executive Committee, and as a representative of the Graduate Student Association at Fermilab. Canelli also received the Frederick Lobkowicz Thesis Prize at Rochester in 2004, the New Talents Prize, and the Chien Shiung Wu Scholarship Award at the Erice School in 2001. Last year, Canelli won the University Research Association's award for the best doctoral thesis at Fermilab.

Source: University of Rochester

Explore further: Nanotech to Improve Satellites and Solar Cells

Related Stories

Nanotech to Improve Satellites and Solar Cells

March 9, 2006

More efficient space solar cells could mean better imagery satellites and improved solar energy technology. Scientists at the NanoPower Research Labs at Rochester Institute of Technology, led by director Ryne Raffaelle, are ...

Recommended for you

How bees naturally vaccinate their babies

July 31, 2015

When it comes to vaccinating their babies, bees don't have a choice—they naturally immunize their offspring against specific diseases found in their environments. And now for the first time, scientists have discovered how ...

Image: Hubble sees a dying star's final moments

July 31, 2015

A dying star's final moments are captured in this image from the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope. The death throes of this star may only last mere moments on a cosmological timescale, but this star's demise is still quite ...

Exoplanets 20/20: Looking back to the future

July 31, 2015

Geoff Marcy remembers the hair standing up on the back of his neck. Paul Butler remembers being dead tired. The two men had just made history: the first confirmation of a planet orbiting another star.

Earth flyby of 'space peanut' captured in new video

July 31, 2015

NASA scientists have used two giant, Earth-based radio telescopes to bounce radar signals off a passing asteroid and produce images of the peanut-shaped body as it approached close to Earth this past weekend.

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.