Prize Recipient

Recipient Picture

Geralyn Zeller
Northwestern University


"For her contributions to the precision measurement of the weak mixing angle in neutrino-nucleon interactions. This work provides the most accurate measurement to date of the weak mixing angle using this technique. The value lies three standard deviations away from global electroweak fits, suggesting the existence of physics contribu-tions from beyond the standard model."


Geralyn "Sam" Zeller graduated from Northwestern University with a B.A. in Physics in 1994. Dr. Zeller performed her doctoral work also at Northwestern University, receiving her Ph.D. in 2002. This work was completed on the NuTeV experiment at Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory (Fermilab) under the supervision of Professor Heidi Schellman. Her dissertation, entitled "A Precise Measurement of the Weak Mixing Angle in Neutrino-Nucleon Scattering," achieved unprecedented precision for a neutrino-nucleon scattering experiment. Continuing her passion for neutrino physics, Dr. Zeller is currently a collaborator on the Booster Neutrino Experiment (MiniBooNE) at Fermilab and a postdoc at Columbia University.

Dr. Zeller's dissertation made use of the high statistics samples of neutrino and antineutrino data collected at the NuTeV experiment to greatly minimize systematic uncertainties. As a result of this strategy, Sam's thesis represents the most precise neutrino measurement to date of the fundamental constant which relates the W and Z boson masses in the standard model of particle physics. This now-published result shows a deviation with respect to the standard model expectation (based on all other precision electroweak measurements) that is significant at the level of three standard deviations. The result has thus sparked much interest in the international particle physics community.

More recently, Dr. Zeller has been working on measuring and modeling low energy neutrino interaction cross sections at MiniBooNE. She looks forward to results from this new experiment.

While at Northwestern, Dr.Zeller was a Pew Science Fellow and a member of the Society of Physics Students (SPS). As an undergraduate, she was elected to the Phi Beta Kappa society and Sigma Pi Sigma, the national physics honor society. Dr. Zeller's doctoral work was partially supported by a Department of Education graduate fellowship.


Selection Committee:

Professor Daniel Marlow (Chair), Patricia Rankin (Vice-Chair), Bob Lanou, Arie Bodek, Mark Strovink