Competition: US & Canada
Christopher Walter is a Professor of Physics at Duke University where he studies particle physics and cosmology. He obtained his undergraduate degree in physics from the University of California at Santa Cruz and his Ph.D. from Caltech. He was a postdoctoral researcher, and then a research professor at Boston University before joining the Duke faculty in 2004. He has sought to understand both the nature of the ghostly particles called neutrinos in giant detectors deep underground, and why the expansion of the universe is accelerating using telescopes on top of mountains. Walter was part of the team that showed neutrinos have mass using a detector in Japan. He founded the observational cosmology group at Duke, and joined the Vera Rubin Observatory, a giant telescope in Chile designed to make a 10 year, three-dimensional survey of the entire visible sky. He is now focused on determining the nature of the mysterious “Dark Energy” which is unaccountably causing the universe to be pushed apart at a faster and faster rate. Walter was awarded a NSF CAREER award in 2009, two Breakthrough Prizes in Physics for his work in 2015, and was elected a Fellow of the American Physical Society in 2017.