Michael Hildreth, Ph.D.

Michael Hildreth

Interim Dean of the College of Science

215 Jordan Hall of Science
(574)  631-6456

About the Interim Dean

Michael Hildreth became interim Dean of the College of Science on Jan. 1, 2021. From 2016 to 2020 he was Associate Dean of Research and Graduate Studies in the College of Science. A professor in the Department of Physics and an experimental particle physicist, he leads the U.S. Compact Muon Solenoid (CMS) Group responsible for directing research and development for software and computational challenges faced at the CERN’s Large Hadron Collider (LHC) in Geneva, Switzerland.

He has also led a multi-university, multi-disciplinary team that explored the programmatic and technical intricacies of knowledge preservation in science. Hildreth also has played a leading role in community engagement, in partnership with the National Science Foundation (NSF), on policy questions around public access to research data. He has been a member of several national advisory panels, including the NSF Advisory Committee for Cyberinfrastructure (ACCI).  He is currently a member of the national High Energy Physics Advisory Panel (HEPAP).

Hildreth will continue  to advance efforts established by Mary E. Galvin, formerly the William K. Warren Foundation Dean of the College of Science, who stepped down Dec. 31, 2020. Those efforts include supporting an environment of open communication and furthering initiatives around diversity, equity, and inclusion. He will also continue support of the new Mary E. Galvin Science and Engineering Scholars Program, and advance the strategic planning process for the college.

Education and other experience

Ph.D. Stanford University
A.B. Princeton University
CERN Staff Scientist
CERN Fellow

Research Interests 

Hildreth’s primary physics interest is in understanding the mechanism or mechanisms responsible for Electroweak Symmetry Breaking. Simply put, this would answer questions like: “why is there mass?”  As a part of the CMS Experiment at CERN, he and the rest of the Notre Dame High Energy Physics group played key roles in the 2012 discovery of a Higgs boson, which, it turns out, can be studied to answer these very questions.

His group is involved in measuring Higgs properties and using precision measurements to understand the potential impact of new physics at inaccessible mass scales from subtle effects that could be observable in the LHC data. These measurements are essential in determining if the Higgs we see is really the source of Electroweak Symmetry Breaking and the origin of particle masses, or whether new physics is required.  He is also working on searches for new physics beyond the Standard Model of particle physics, specifically looking for new physics in final states involving high energy photons and, separately, for new heavy quarks.

Hildreth is also involved in research supporting large-scale distributed computing to optimize science output.  His latest project in this area, Scalable Cyberinfrastructure for Artificial Intelligence and Likelihood Free INference (SCAILFIN), is building infrastructure to allow data production and training of machine-learning algorithms for particle physics, running complex workflows at scale using the largest high-performance computing centers in the US.


Hildreth to serve as interim dean, McDowell as interim associate dean of research in the College of Science

Hildreth appointed to national high energy physics advisory panel

Measurement of the Higgs boson coupling to top quarks

Selected Publications

CMS Collaboration, Evidence for associated production of a Higgs boson with a top quark pair in final states with electrons, muons, and hadronically decaying t leptons at √s = 13 TeV,  J. High Energy Phys.  08 (2018) 066.

CMS Collaboration, Search for supersymmetry in events with photons and missing transverse energy in pp collisions at 13, Phys. Lett. B 769 (2017) 391-412.

M. Wolf, et al., Opportunistic Computing with Lobster: Lessons Learned from Scaling up to 25k Non-Dedicated Cores,  in IOP Conf. Series: Journal of Physics: Conf. Series 898 (2017) 052036.