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The Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation Fundamental Physics Innovation Awards


Recipients of the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation Fundamental Physics Innovation Awards

The Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation Fundamental Physics Innovation Awards hope to stimulate ideas on innovative ways in which emerging technologies can be used to address pressing problems in fundamental physics. The awards support a variety of ways to bring people together to discuss and collaborate on ideas to advance fundamental physics as described in the Scientific Scope.

Below, we recognize the recipients of the awards from each year with their corresponding abstracts.

March 2020

Convening Awards

Sarah Shandera
Our workshop, "Gravitational Wave Constraints on Dark Compact Objects", will explore a new avenue for dark matter research made possible by the LIGO/VIRGO network of gravitational wave detectors. We will study the possible formation of black holes in dissipative dark matter models and how such scenarios can be detected or constrained by LIGO.

Devin Walker
The workshop, part of a conference celebrating the physics and life of Ann E. Nelson, is designed to provide a forum to foster the next generation of light dark matter searches. The focus will be on 1) the detection of axions and axion-like particles (ALPs) in laboratories, 2) the detection of sub-GeV dark matter in laboratories and 3) light dark matter production at accelerators.

Surjeet Rajendran
This workshop is dedicated to discuss emerging trends in theoretical particle physics relevant to understanding phenomena in our universe. This includes new approaches to the detection of dark matter and dark energy, novel solutions to the hierarchy and cosmological constant problems and new developments in theoretical and experimental gravitational physics.

Visitor Awards

Surjeet Rajendran
Surjeet Rajendran will visit Peter Graham at Stanford. We propose to develop new techniques for laboratory detection of dark energy and low-frequency gravitational waves.

January 2019

Convening Awards

Noah Kurinsky

Noah A. Kurinsky
Over the last few years, a growing community of scientists has begun to explore the prospect of dark matter lighter than the proton (sub- GeV), which cannot currently be detected with conventional laboratory-based searches. This workshop, “New Directions in the Search for Light Dark Matter”, aims to bring together the various international communities, both experimental and theoretical, working on new technologies and models for light dark matter, in order to explore the feasibility and naturalness of these new ideas.

Visitor Awards

Paul Hess

Paul Hess
Paul Hess, Visiting Assistant Professor of Physics at Middlebury College, will visit the Jayich group at UC Santa Barbara to study molecular ions that are promising systems to discover new sources of symmetry violation responsible for the absence of anti-matter in the Universe. The collaboration will perform the spectroscopy necessary to plan precision measurements for controlling these molecules at the level of single quantum states.

Pavlos Protopapas

Pavlos Protopapas
Dr. Protopapas’ visit will bring the power and flexibility of machine-learning approaches to bear on the next frontier of gravitational-wave searches; namely, using precise radio observations of pulsars to make a Galactic net of clocks that can catch gravitational-wave emission from supermassive binary black-hole systems. With the ever increasing volume of data being collected, and some noise processes challenging to filter, deep-learning is an exciting tool to deploy on this new portion of the gravitational-wave landscape.

Mariangela Settimo

Mariangela Settimo
For the analysis of the data collected by the DAMIC experiment at SNOLAB to search for dark matter, and to discuss future directions and technologies for dark matter direct detection at the Center for Experimental Nuclear Physics and Astrophysics (CENPA) at the University of Washington.

Fred Wietfeldt

Fred Wietfeldt
We are planning an experiment at the University of Washington to limit or measure the Fierz interference effect in the beta energy spectrum of Helium-6, a heavy isotope of helium, to a precision of less than 0.1%. The presence of this effect, predicted to be zero in the Standard Model of particle physics, may provide hints of new physics.

Ira Rothstein

Ira Rothstein
Our collaboration involves utilizing S matrix techniques for the purposes of making precision predictions for gravity waves produced in binary inspirals.

Lectureship Awards

Kolkowitz

Shimon Kolkowitz
Professor Shimon Kolkowitz, an experimental atomic physicist from the University of Wisconsin - Madison, will visit Stevens Institute of Technology to give a lecture on the use of optical atomic clocks for fundamental physics research. The seminar will serve as the basis for scientific discussions on the prospects for using optical atomic clocks for the study of gravity and foundations of general relativity with host Professor Igor Pikovski, a theoretical physicist at Stevens Institute of Technology.

April 2019

Convening Awards

Philip Cole

Philip Cole
Philip Cole (Lamar University), Elton Smith (Jefferson Lab), and Michael Wood (Canisius College) will receive a Convening Award to organize the Light Dark Matter @ Accelerators LDMA2019 workshop. Andrea Celentano and Marco Battaglieri, both from INFN-Genova, are the lead workshop organizers of LDMA2019, which will convene in Venice, Italy, November 20-22, 2019.

Visitor Awards

Klaus Blaum

Timothy Chupp
Measurement of magnetic fields with absolute accuracy is being transformed with the development of optically pumped 3He magnetometers and self-calibrated measurement the magnetic moment of the helion - the 3He nucleus. This Visitor Award will enable my collaboration with the group of Professor Klaus Blum of Max Planck Institute, Heidelberg, bringing these two developments together and connecting to measurement of the magnetic moment anomaly of the muon, which is currently underway at Fermilab.

Jamac Deliduman

Yamaç (Pehlivan) Deliduman
Prof. Yamaç (Pehlivan) Deliduman from Mimar Sinan Fine Arts University in Istanbul and Prof. A. Baha Balantekin from University of Wisconsin - Madison will collaborate on the neutrino emission from a core collapse supernova. In particular, they will analyze the emergent many-body phenomena associated with neutrino flavor oscillations at high densities, and illuminate the possible role of sterile neutrinos in the scheme.

Jayant Murthy

Jayant Murthy
This proposal aims to invite Jayant Murthy, an expert in observational analyses of the ultraviolet background radiation, to Maryland to engage in intensive discussions with James Overduin (Towson University) and Richard Henry (Johns Hopkins University) on the possibility that recently detected anomalies in this radiation may be connected to the nature of dark matter. In particular, we aim to determine whether a conclusive answer to this question may be obtained using data from the ALICE spectrometer aboard the New Horizons spacecraft.

Qiaoli Yang

Qiaoli Yang
Qiaoli Yang, Associate Professor of Physics at Jinan University in Guangzhou, will visit Professor Pierre Sikivie at University of Florida to explore the quantum nature of axion dark matter. As axions are generally predicted by theories with extra dimensions such as string theory, a deep understanding of their quantum properties and consequent cosmological, astrophysical and laboratory properties may serve as a new window on ultra-high energy scale physics.

Lectureship Awards

Jon Urheim

Jon Urheim
Prof. Jon Urheim of IU Bloomington will be presenting a department-wide colloquium on the DUNE (Deep Underground Neutrino Experiment) and NOvA (NuMI Off-axis electron neutrino appearance) projects which he works on, as well as on neutrino physics in general. Fundamental physics will be advanced through an interdisciplinary discussion linking neutrino physics with dark matter (LZ, UAlbany Prof. Szydagis) and the LHC (ATLAS, UAlbany Prof. Jain).

July 2019

Convening Awards

Daniel Carney

Cindy Regal

Daniel Carney and Cindy Regal
Paradigmatic advances in the ability to create, control, and detect quantum states of massive mechanical objects has enabled unprecedented levels of sensitivity to small displacements and forces. Our meeting will bring together theoretical and experimental researchers from both the particle physics and quantum sensing communities, with the goal of developing new probes of physics beyond the standard model using mechanical devices in the quantum regime.

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David Hertzog and David McKeen
CENPA and TRIUMF will be running a workshop to determine the best avenues to pursue fundamental physics in the Pacific Northwest from 26-28 April, 2020 in Whistler, BC. The generous support of the Moore Foundation will allow leading experts in physics beyond the standard model to gather and discuss the unique opportunities offered at these two laboratories.

Visitor Awards

Edward John Daw

Edward John Daw
Professor Ed Daw of The University of Sheffield, United Kingdom, will visit The University of Washington, Seattle, and Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, collaborating on the Axion Dark Matter Search (ADMX) experiment. Prof. Daw will assist with data analysis training and development as well as conducting R&D on novel resonant feedback techniques aimed at increasing the search rate for axions in the Galactic dark matter halo.

Sylvain Fichet

Sylvain Fichet
Our collaboration studies exotic spin-dependent forces originating from light sectors beyond the Standard Model. Our aim is to explore and guide the future experimental prospects for such forces, which offer a window into light hidden sectors and can serve as light Dark Matter searches.

Lectureship Awards

Matt Redshaw 400x500

Matt Redshaw
In this talk, I will discuss high precision atomic mass measurements performed using Penning traps to determine b-decay Q values for isotopes used in bb-decay and neutrino mass determination experiments. The Q value measurements will assist in the interpretation of results from these large scale experiments to answer questions about the neutrino mass scale and its Dirac or Majorana particle nature.

November 2019

Convening Awards

Ronald Fernando

Nick Hutzler

Ronald F. Garcia Ruiz and Nick Hutzler
Molecules containing heavy and deformed radioactive nuclei are predicted to provide unprecedented sensitivity to investigate the fundamental laws of nature and to search for new physics beyond the Standard Model. This workshop, “New Opportunities for Fundamental Physics Research with Radioactive Molecules” @ MIT, will gather world leading theoreticians and experimentalists working in molecular spectroscopy, nuclear physics, precision measurements and radioactive beam science, in order to propose new ideas and establish new collaborations to advance this emergent and exciting field of research.

Visitor Awards

Samuel Brewer

Samuel Brewer
Samuel Brewer, Assistant Professor of Physics at Colorado State University, will visit Dr. Joseph Tan and the Atomic Spectroscopy Group at the National Institute of Standards and Technology to study trapped highly charged ions of interest for tests of fundamental physics. Highly charged ions provide a unique platform for investigating physics beyond the standard model including laboratory-based searches for time-variation of the fundamental constants, ultralight scalar dark matter, and tests of quantum electrodynamics.

Peter Meyers

Peter Meyers
The HUNTER experiment will search for sterile neutrinos with masses from tens to hundreds of keV, using techniques from atomic, nuclear, and high-energy physics. Complete, high resolution kinematic reconstruction of all visible particles from electron-capture decays of Cs-131 laser cooled to milli-Kelvin temperatures in a magneto-optical trap gives an event-by-event measurement of the mass of the recoiling neutrino.

Daniele Steer

Danièle Steer
Danièle Steer, Professor of Physics at the Université de Paris, France, will visit and collaborate with Tanmay Vachaspati at Arizona State University on gravitational wave and cosmic ray signatures of cosmic strings. The results will inform ongoing experimental searches, for example by the LIGO-Virgo collaboration, and make predictions for future experiments.

Dalziel Wilson

Dalziel Wilson
This award will join researchers in quantum optics and high energy physics to design a prototype optomechanical detector for ultralight dark matter - specifically, vector B-L moduli in the 1e-12 to 1e-8 eV mass range. Prof. Dalziel Wilson (University of Arizona), Prof. Daniel Grin (Haverford College), and Dr. Daniel Carney (University of Maryland), will be hosted by Prof. Swati Singh (University of Delaware).

Lectureship Awards

Zelimir Djurcic

Zelimir Djurcic
In this lecture, I will discuss open questions in neutrino physics including recent neutrino mixing results, inputs on neutrino masses from cosmology, and limits on effective neutrino mass from double-beta decay searches. Fundamental physics will be advanced through the discussion linking three-flavor neutrino physics to research focused on search for keV sterile neutrinos, that could mix with Standard Model neutrinos and present viable dark-matter candidates.

2018 Convening Awards

Alexander Sushkov

Alexander Sushkov
This workshop is dedicated to an in-depth discussion and sharing of scientific and technical knowledge around the subject of novel searches for ultralight dark matter candidates such as axions, axion-like particles, and dark/hidden photons. The meeting will bring together leading theorists and the experimental teams working on the Cosmic Axion Spin Precession Experiment (CASPEr) and the Dark Matter Radio (DM Radio) projects.

2018 Visitor Awards

Catalina Curceanu

Catalina Curceanu
Dr. Catalina Curceanu, head researcher at the Laboratori Nazionali di Frascati of INFN in Italy, will visit the Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton, to discuss with Prof. Stephen  L. Adler experiments testing collapse models in the underground laboratory of Gran Sasso (Italy). Her research aims towards a more profound understanding of the role of quantum theory in the Universe, and  has implications for future quantum technologies.

Jinjun Liu

Jinjun Liu
Prof. Nick Hutzler at the California Institute of Technology and Prof. Jinjun Liu at the University of Louisville will collaborate on the investigation of polyatomic molecules as candidates for detection of time-reversal symmetry violation using novel high-precision laser-spectroscopy techniques and quantitative analysis of the spin-ro-vibronic structure of the target molecules.

Felix King

Felix Kling
The purpose of the visit is to personally meet with collaborators at CERN and nearby institutions to coordinate our efforts in realizing the proposed FASER experiment. FASER, the ForwArd Search ExpeRiment, is a new experimental approach to search for light new physics at the LHC.