Kevin Lannon, an assistant professor in the Department of Physics, has received a 2010 National Science Foundation Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) Program award of $500,000 over five years. The award is the agency’s most prestigious aimed at supporting the early career development of scholars who integrate research and education.
Lannon plans to use the CMS detector at the Large Hadron Collider at CERN to study why particles acquire mass, especially why the top quark has a mass some 60,000 times larger than the up quark. The project includes upgrading the CMS detector.
Lannon also plans to involve high school students and teachers in CMS data analysis through the QuarkNet program. He expects to develop software that will transform raw CMS data into a format that can be used easily for web-based and classroom learning activities. Engaging students in such research can help recruit them to technology and engineering careers as well as basic science, he says.