Fermilab and the New Frontiers of Physics
Chicago Public Library, Harold Washington Center
400 S. State Street Cindy Pritzker Auditorium
60605 Chicago , IL
United States
41° 52' 34.752" N, 87° 37' 41.5236" W

Fermilab and the New Frontiers of Physics

Fermilab and the New Frontiers of Physics 

Fermilab celebrates its 50th anniversary in 2017. What does the future hold for this world-renowned laboratory in Chicago’s western suburbs—and for physics itself?

Particle physicists aim to discover what the universe is made of and how it works. They study the smallest building blocks of matter using some of the largest and most complex machines in the world. Using Fermilab’s vast complex of particle accelerators and complex detectors, scientists have discovered three building blocks of nature: the bottom quark (1977), top quark (1995) and tau neutrino (2000).

Fermilab supports discovery science experiments in Illinois and at locations around the world, including deep underground mines in South Dakota and Canada, mountaintops in Arizona and Chile, the forests of northern Minnesota, the Large Hadron Collider in Switzerland, and the South Pole. More than 4,500 scientists from 50 countries use Fermilab’s facilities to expand humankind’s understanding of matter, energy, space and time.

In this special panel discussion hosted by the Chicago Council on Science and Technology, Chicago Public Library, Harold Washington Center and Fermilab, and moderated by Fermilab’s chief operating officer Tim Meyer, three of Fermilab’s top researchers will introduce the breadth of physics and technology research taking place at the laboratory today, focused on the discoveries ahead at the frontiers of particle physics. 

Dr. Nord will discuss the modern mystery of dark energy, the accelerated expansion of the cosmos, and the large astronomical experiments we undertake to learn about it. He will also talk about emerging efforts to apply artificial intelligence to our ever-larger astronomical data sets.

Dr. Gutsche will describe the worldwide journey from recording particle interactions to extracting physics with emphasis on the massive computing challenge using grids, clouds and supercomputers, using the example of the Large Hadron Collider at CERN in Geneva, Switzerland.

Dr. Grassellino will discuss the current state of the art in supercondcting radio-frequency accelerating technology.

Timothy Meyer is Fermilab’s chief operating officer. As COO, he oversees the activities, functions and infrastructure that support the laboratory’s scientific program. He also serves as a liaison between Fermilab and the Department of Energy system. Tim came to the laboratory in 2014 after seven years as head of strategic planning and communication at TRIUMF, Canada’s national laboratory for particle and nuclear physics. Prior to his time there, Tim served as an expert in science and public policy at the U.S. National Academies in Washington, D.C., as a senior program officer at the Board on Physics and Astronomy. He earned his Ph.D. in experimental particle physics from Stanford University.



Anna Grassellino is a scientist and the deputy head of Fermilab’s Technical Division. Her work focuses on the development of superconducting radio-frequency (SRF) accelerator technology. She is manager at Fermilab of different programs and grants for studies of SRF performance improvement, and one of the lead scientists involved in the cryomodule production for SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory’s Light Coherent Light Source II.  Anna is the recipient of awards including the 2017 Presidential Early Career Award, the 2017 EPS Frank Sacherer Prize, the 2016 IEEE PAST Award, the 2016 USPAS prize and a $2.5 million DOE Early Career Award for her pioneering contributions to SRF technology. Anna holds a Ph.D. in physics from the University of Pennsylvania and a master’s of electronic engineering from the University of Pisa, Italy.


Brian Nord received his PhD in physics at the University of Michigan and now works as a post-doctoral researcher at Fermilab, working on the Dark Energy Survey and the application of artificial intelligence to our biggest questions in astrophysics.  A few times per year, he travels to Chile to observe for DES on the Blanco Telescope at the Cerro Tololo Inter-American Observatory or at the Gemini South Telescope. He uses techniques, ideas, and ways of thinking from multiple fields and diverse perspectives to tackle hard problems. Brian endeavors to express experiences in science through art, like large-scale visualizations of the cosmos and astrophotography. Through these and other mechanisms, he engages with the public on science and advocates for diversity and inclusion in STEM. You can find him on Twitter and Instagram, @iamstarnord.


Oliver Gutsche is a scientist at Fermilab. He earned his PhD in Particle Physics at the University of Hamburg and DESY in Germany. He is a member of the CMS collaboration at the Large Hadron Collider at CERN in Geneva, Switzerland. His research is focusing on physics beyond the Standard Model, specifically in the areas of supersymmetry and dark matter.  Gutsche has intimate knowledge of large-scale computing solutions to analyze multi-Petabyte datasets on distributed computing infrastructures of 100,000 cores. He is deputy program manager of the U.S. CMS Software and Computing program overseeing and evolving the software development and computing infrastructure in the United States for the CMS experiment at the Large Hadron Collider. 



DETAILS: Wednesday, September 6, 2017Chicago Public Library, Harold Washington Center, 400 S. State St., Chicago, IL 60605. Cindy Pritzker Auditorium (lower level). Program 6:00 pm to 8:00 pm. This program is FREE to attend, and seating will be first come, first served. Can’t make it live? This program will be recorded and will be available on our YouTube channel, C2ST TV.

This program presented in partnership with Fermilab and the Chicago Public Libary.