Fellow: Awarded 2009
Field of Study: Physics
Competition: US & Canada
Janet Conrad is a Professor of Physics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, an appointment she took up in 2008 after thirteen years on the physics faculty at Columbia University. She received her B.A. in physics (1985) from Swarthmore College, and pursued graduate work in high-energy physics at Oxford University (M.Sc., 1987) and Harvard University (Ph.D., 1993).
An internationally recognized leader in the study of neutrinos, Ms. Conrad began research on the CCFR/NuTeV high-energy neutrino scattering experiment while a postdoctoral student at Columbia, and continued it as a faculty member there, with support from the NSF, the Department of Energy’s Outstanding Junior Investigator Award, and an Alfred P. Sloan Foundation Fellowship. She was then a founding member of the MiniBooNe experiment, which searched for exotic neutrino properties using medium energy neutrinos, and served as the experiment’s co-spokesperson from 1998 to 2007. Her work on this project earned her a NSF Presidential Early Career Award in Science and Engineering, election to Fellowship in the American Physical Society (2003), and a Faculty Fellowship and Walter O. Lecroy Professorship in Physics from Columbia.
She continued her work on MiniBooNe at Fermilab after her appointment at MIT and is now developing a liquid argon detector for a MicroBooNe project, which she will continue during her Guggenheim Fellowship term. In addition she and her group are also collaborating on the Double Chooz experiment and are heading the Thermal Analysis Group.
A sought-after lecturer at conferences of her peers, Ms. Conrad is well known for making physics interesting and accessible to both scientists and general audiences, and as a result she has been both a guest on and advisor to NPR’s Earth and Sky program and PBS’ Nova.