Three physics students win awards, fellowships

Three Ph.D. students in the Department of Physics — all of whom are members of NIU’s team of researchers working on the ATLAS experiment at the Large Hadron Collider (LHC), based at the CERN research facility near Geneva, Switzerland — recently have won highly competitive awards.

Chad Suhr and Rob Calkins

Chad Suhr and Rob Calkins

Chad Suhr was awarded a one-year $30,000 fellowship from theArgonne National Laboratory to continue his research. The fellowship is awarded to no more than two students each year. Suhr has been stationed at Argonne since September 2010, after returning from an 18-month research assignment at the LHC, the world’s most powerful particle accelerator. He is engaged in the search for singly produced top quarks at the LHC.

Rob Calkins, who has been stationed at CERN since February 2009, is among six students who were awarded NIU’s Dissertation Completion Fellowship this year. Calkins also won the physics department’s “Graduate Student of the Year” award for 2011. He has made momentous contributions to studies of pair-produced top quarks.

Stephen Cole

Stephen Cole

Stephen Cole has been named the recipient of a $15,000 National Science Foundation fellowship. He will be stationed at CERN for a year or more, beginning this summer.

The funding will cover the additional expenses for the cost of living abroad and travel to conferences. Only 20 of these fellowships are awarded nationwide each year, and both Calkins and Suhr had won it in 2010. Cole is participating in a search for simultaneous production of W and Z bosons.

Both Calkins and Suhr, who are working under the supervision of NIU physics professor Dhiman Chakraborty, are on course to earn their Ph.Ds. in 2012, while Cole, working under the supervision of physics professor Gerald Blazey, is expected to graduate in 2014.

“Winning these keenly contested awards speaks volumes of the high quality work that the NIU team, currently consisting of eight members, is doing on the ATLAS project,” Chakraborty said.

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NIU scientists playing role in development of CERN’s LHC detector
NIU physics students working at CERN on world’s most ambitious experiment

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