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Luiz de Viveiros to receive Department of Energy Early Career Research Program funding

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31 July 2018

Luiz de ViveirosLuiz de Viveiros, assistant professor of physics, has been selected by the U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) Office of Science to receive funding for his research as part of the DOE's Early Career Research Program. The DOE program, in its ninth year, is designed to bolster the nation's scientific workforce by providing support to exceptional researchers during the crucial early years of their careers, when many scientists do their most formative work. Awardees are chosen based on peer review by outside scientific experts and receive five years of research funding.

De Viveiros has devoted his research to trying to answer one of the big questions of physics: What makes up the universe? His research focuses on neutrinos, nature’s most abundant particle with mass, but also one of the most elusive — its actual mass is still an unknown — and the search for the mysterious dark matter, which makes up more than 80 percent of the matter in the universe. He has a long history of working on dark matter experiments, having been part of the CMDS-II, XENON10, ZEPLIN-III, and the Large Underground Xenon (LUX) experiments; and he is currently working on LUX-ZEPLIN, a next-generation dark matter detector that will be the most sensitive search to date.

The DOE award will support de Viveiros’s work on the Project 8 Neutrino Mass experiment. The project seeks to determine the mass of neutrinos by precisely measuring the energy spectrum of tritium beta decay using a new technique that allows the non-destructive measurement of individual electrons in a magnetic trap, called Cyclotron Radiation Emission Spectroscopy (CRES).

“This research will open new frontiers in neutrino physics, giving us new tools to solve fundamental questions about the nature and evolution of the universe,” says de Viveiros.

Prior to joining the faculty at Penn State, de Viveiros was an assistant project scientist from 2015 to 2017 and a postdoctoral researcher from 2014 to 2015 at the University of California, Santa Barbara. He was a postdoctoral researcher at Laboratório de Instrumentação e Física Experimental de Partículas (LIP), in Coimbra, Portugal, from 2009 to 2013. He earned a doctoral degree in physics at Brown University in 2009 and a bachelor’s degree in physics from Clark University in 2001.

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