Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory has named Patrick Huber, department head of Virginia Tech’s Department of Physics, as one of its four new Fermilab Distinguished Scholars.

The two-year appointment in an inaugural program by the Batavia, Illinois-based laboratory, part of the U.S Department of Energy’s Office of Science, will bring Huber and one or two graduate students of his choosing to the lab for research into theoretical physics. Huber said he will visit the lab June 1-15 and then later in the fall for another two weeks. The accompanying students have not not yet been selected.

“I have been a strong advocate for Fermilab’s neutrino program since the early 2000s, and thus, it is very natural for me to spend some extended periods at the lab,” said Huber of the Virginia Tech College of Science.

“I was delighted to learn that Patrick will be one our inaugural Fermilab Distinguished Scholars,” said Joe Lykken, deputy director of Fermilab. “I have known Patrick for many years as one of the world’s leading neutrino theorists. He has worked closely with neutrino experimentalists and helped to develop the leading simulation tool for neutrino oscillation experiments. His presence at Fermilab will be a big intellectual boost towards maximizing the exciting physics potential of our present and future efforts towards understanding the mysteries of neutrinos.”

According to Lykken, his primary mission with the scholar program is to strengthen connections between Fermilab Theoretical Physics and Astrophysics groups and the wider U.S. particle-theory community. He also wants to increase resident theoretical expertise in targeted physics areas to support the lab’s experimental program. “During the term of their appointment, they have the same research opportunities and support infrastructure as Fermilab scientists,” stated a lab announcement.

Huber’s fellow appointees hail from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, the University of Washington, and State University of New York at Buffalo.

Huber’s invitation came after an outside advisory group, consisting of six prominent theorists representing the U.S. community, recommended him as an outstanding candidate, according to the lab.

Fermilab is funded by the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Science and operated by the Fermi Research Alliance LLC, a partnership of the University of Chicago and Universities Research Association Inc., a consortium of 89 research universities. Virginia Tech is a member of the association, and Virginia Tech President Tim Sands serves on its Council of Presidents and is expected to serve as vice chair in 2017 and chairman in 2018.

Founded in 1967, Fermilab’s mission is to build the world’s most advanced particle accelerators, to dig down to the smallest building blocks of matter, study the farthest reaches of the universe, and seek out the nature of dark matter and dark energy. 

Dedicated to its motto, Ut Prosim (That I May Serve), Virginia Tech takes a hands-on, engaging approach to education, preparing scholars to be leaders in their fields and communities. As the commonwealth’s most comprehensive university and its leading research institution, Virginia Tech offers 240 undergraduate and graduate degree programs to more than 31,000 students and manages a research portfolio of $513 million. The university fulfills its land-grant mission of transforming knowledge to practice through technological leadership and by fueling economic growth and job creation locally, regionally, and across Virginia.

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