2023 Michelson Postdoctoral Prize

Julia Gehrlein, PhD, CERN, Geneva, Switzerland

Julia Gehrlein, PhD, Department of Theoretical Physics, CERN, Geneva, Switzerland, has been named the winner of this year’s MICHELSON POSTDOCTORAL PRIZE, and will spend one week in residence during the week of September 18, 2023, on the Case Western Reserve University campus. This year marks the 25th annual MICHELSON POSTDOCTORAL PRIZE LECTURESHIP, awarded each year to a junior scholar active in any field of physics. As part of her residency, Dr. Gehrlein will deliver two (2) technical lectures and a colloquium.  The lectureship also carries an honorarium of $2,500 plus travel expenses.

Dr. Gehrlein’s fields of interest include Beyond the Standard Model Phenomenology, Cosmology and Astroparticle Physics, and Neutrino Physics. Details on the lectureship, including lecture and colloquium topics, locations, and times are as follows:

MPPL Lecture #1 (Monday, September 18, 12:45-2pm, Rockefeller 221)
To break CP or to not break CP – Hints for new CP violating physics in long baseline neutrino oscillations
Abstract: The quest for leptonic CP violation is one of the major goals of near future neutrino oscillation experiments like DUNE and Hyper-Kamiokande. Experiments of the current generation like NOvA in the US and T2K in Japan do not have enough sensitivity to claim a significant discovery of CP violation however they provide already hints for the value of the CP violating quantity. Interestingly, their results currently mildly disagree with each other. In this talk I will show how new physics effects can impact the measurement of CP violation in the neutrino sector. I will then show that the introduction of new CP violating neutrino interactions in matter can provide an explanation for the NOvA and T2K data and outline how the next generation of experiments can probe this solution.

MPPL Lecture #2 (Tuesday, September 19, 11:30am-1pm, Rockefeller 221)
Who ordered that? Probing neutrino flavor models with precision neutrino experiments
Abstract: The observed flavor pattern of neutrinos, their large mixings and the smallness of their masses compared to the masses of the other fermions provides a great puzzle. In this talk I will review explanations to this puzzle based on symmetries and then focus on the predictions and testability of these flavor models. I will put a particular focus on the most predictive class of models which relate different observables with each other. I will show how upcoming neutrino experiments like oscillation experiments, neutrinoless double beta decay experiments, and cosmological observatories can probe and differentiate between different flavor models and therefore provide more insights into the flavor puzzle of the Standard Model.

MPPL Physics Colloquium (Thursday, September 21, 4-5;30pm, Rockefeller 301)
Neutrino windows to new physics
Abstract: Neutrinos are the most elusive particles of the Standard Model even though they are extraordinarily abundant in the Universe. In our quest to uncover all mysteries of the neutrino sector we encountered one of the most surprising characteristics of neutrinos: Neutrinos oscillate, i.e. they can change their flavor when traveling over a distance. This implies that neutrinos are massive, in contradiction with the Standard Model of particle physics, therefore making neutrinos a potential window to a new sector of particle physics. In the colloquium I will elaborate on how neutrinos can shine light on physics beyond the Standard Model. I will review our current knowledge of the neutrino sector and then demonstrate how new physics particles can impact neutrino physics across many orders of energy and in different searches. Finally, I will show how near future experiments can probe new physics in the neutrino sector across many energy scales to show what we can learn about neutrinos in the future.

For more information, contact Prof. Kurt Hinterbichler at kurt.hinterbichler@case.edu.




Previous Prize Winners

Click here for abstracts of previous lectures.

1997: Thomas Walther

1998: Christopher A. Fuchs see also A Private View of Quantum Reality (Quanta Magazine)

1999: Joseph Mohr

2000: Keith Schwab

2001: Jonathan Feng

2002: Re’em Sari

2003: Brian DeMarco

2004: Karsten Heeger

2005: Yaroslav Tserkovnyak

2006: Nicole Bell

2007: Adam Bolton

2008: Roberto Trotta

2009: Jonathan Alwall

2010: David Hanneke

2011: Lindley Winslow

2012: Kin Fai Mak

2013: Wei-Cheng Lee

2014: Amar Vutha

2015: Michael Hatridge

2016: Lucile Savary

2017: Liang Wu

2018: Tim Linden

2019: Audrey Bienfait

2020: Thiebault Sohier