Wednesday, October 17 , 2018, 2:38 pm | Fair 78º


UCSB Physicist Wins National Award

Benjamin Monreal receives an Early Career Research Program Award from the Department of Energy

Benjamin Monreal, an assistant professor of physics at UCSB, has won an Early Career Research Program Award from the Office of Nuclear Physics at the U.S. Department of Energy.

The award is for $904,000 over five years, and is for Monreal’s project titled “New Experiments to Measure the Neutrino Mass Scale.”

The award is part of a commitment by President Barack Obama and his administration to invest in innovation and research, according to a DOE news release. The funding is granted under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.

The new effort is designed to bolster the nation’s scientific work force by providing support to exceptional researchers during the crucial early career years, when many scientists do their most formative work.

“This investment reflects the administration’s strong commitment to creating jobs and new industries through scientific innovation,” Secretary of Energy Steven Chu said. “Strong support of scientists in the early career years is crucial to renewing America’s scientific work force and ensuring U.S. leadership in discovery and innovation for many years to come.”

Michael Witherell, vice chancellor of research at UCSB, said, “In this very competitive program, 69 scientists from around the country were chosen out of 1,750 applicants to receive large research grants early in their career. We are proud that Ben Monreal received one of these awards for his innovative research on neutrinos, and excited to find out what this research will show. This is one more indicator that we continue to have one of the best physics departments in the country.”

Monreal joined the UCSB faculty in 2009. He completed his bachelor’s degree in physics at Yale University in 1999, and his Ph.D. in experimental particle physics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 2004.

From 2004 through 2008, he was a postdoctoral research associate at MIT. Monreal’s research is interdisciplinary at the intersection of nuclear, particle and astrophysics. At UCSB, he is building a research group to carry out direct neutrino mass measurements, underground dark matter searches and dark matter phenomenology.


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