Keynote Speaker - Margaret Murnane

“Why Diverse Teams will Meet the Science and Engineering Challenges of the 21st Century”

Margaret Murnane
JILA Fellow
Distinguished Professor
University of Colorado, Boulder

Award-winning physicist Margaret Murnane began her journey to becoming a world-renowned expert on ultrafast lasers in the countryside of Midwest Ireland. Her father, an elementary school teacher, loved science and used to reward his young daughter with chocolates or a new science book from the library when she solved math puzzles. When she was 8, one of those books, with an illustration of Archimedes in the bathtub, kindled a lifelong desire to learn about the world by observing it.

Dr. Murnane’s research focuses on ultrafast lasers and coherent x-ray sources. With their optical research, the Kapteyn-Murnane group is able to conduct experiments in physics, chemistry, material science, and engineering that solve problems at the technological forefront. Her honors include the prestigious John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Fellowship, APS Arthur Schawlow Prize in Laser Science, the American Chemical Society’s Ahmed Zewail Award, and the R. W. Wood Prize, all of which she shared with her collaborator Henry Kapteyn. She is a member of the National Academy of Sciences and a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the Optical Society of America, and the American Physical Society. In addition to her scientific work, Murnane seeks to involve and support more women in the sciences. She has been a member and/or Chair of the APS Committee on the Status of Women in Physics and the Site Visit Team to Improve the Climate for Women in Physics. She received her B.S. and M.S. from University College Cork (Ireland) and her Ph.D. from the University of California at Berkeley.


Jolie Cizewski
Professor of Physics, Rutgers University
"Explosions in the Cosmos and Exotic Atomic Nuclei"

Jolie Cizewski is a Professor of Physics and Astronomy at Rutgers University. She received her PhD from Stony Brook University, did postdoctoral work at Los Alamos National Laboratory, and was previously on the faculty at Yale University. Her research focus is in experimental nuclear physics where she probes the properties of atomic nuclei far from stability. She currently directs the Center for Radioactive Ion Beam Studies for Stewardship Science, supported by the Department of Energy/NNSA. For 15 years she served Rutgers in various leadership positions in graduate education, including Acting Dean of the Graduate School with responsibility for all PhD degrees on the New Brunswick campus. She is a Fellow of the American Physical Society and AAAS. She has mentored about 15 graduate students and about 15 postdoctoral scholars.

Mirjam Cvetic
Fay R. and Eugene L. Langberg Professor of Physics, University of Pennsylvania
"String Theory, Particle Physics and Black Holes"

Mirjam Cvetic is Fay R. and Eugene L. Langberg Professor of Physics at the University of Pennsylvania. Her research encompasses broad thrusts in fundamental theory: gravitational physics in string theory (seminal work on black holes); work at the interface with differential and algebraic geometry (new special holonomy spaces); leading efforts in string theory compactifications (first supersymmetric intersecting D-brane models and new D-instanton effects); the study of particle physics implications of string theory. She has published close to three hundred papers, with close to 14,000 citations. She is a Fellow of APS (2001), the Editor of Physics Letters B (since 2000), a recipient of Distinguished University of Maryland Alumni Award (2007), an elected Chair of the Advisory Board of the KITP, Santa Barbara (2009-10), and has served on numerous national and international advisory panels. She has mentored over ten PhD students and eleven post-doctoral researchers in theoretical high energy physics. She received her PhD from the University of Maryland (1984), was a post-doctoral fellow at SLAC, Stanford University (1984-87), and has had a primary affiliation with the University of Pennsylvania since 1987.

Nozomi Nishimura
Cornell University
"Imaging Cellular Interactions in Disease: Nonlinear Optics for in vivo Studies"

Nozomi Nishimura grew up in Tucson, Arizona. She majored in Physics at Harvard College where she worked with Prof. Eric Mazur on femtosecond laser ablation. In graduate school she became interested in neuroscience and worked with Prof. David Kleinfeld at University of California at San Diego. Although still in the Physics Department, her research focused on studying blood flow in the brain of rodents and developing laser-based models of small stroke. She came to Biomedical Engineering at Cornell in 2006 to do a postdoc with Prof. Chris Schaffer. At Cornell, current research expands the use of in vivo imaging techniques to studies of Alzheimer’s disease and other pathologies in both brain and other organs. She drives a Jeep off-road when she can get away with it. She is always looking for people to help chase after her two crazy dogs Cala (Vizsla) and Ace (Labrador) preferably through the woods on a nice trail.

Julia Thom-Levy
Associate Professor of Physics, Cornell University
"The First Two Years at the Large Hadron Collider"

Dr. Julia Thom-Levy is Associate Professor of Physics at Cornell University. Dr. Thom-Levy received her undergraduate degree and Ph.D. from the University of Hamburg in Germany, where she was a Fellow of the German National Scholarship Foundation, and Research Assistant at the Stanford Linear Accelerator Center (SLAC). Her postdoc years were spent as a Research Associate at the Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory. As a member of the CMS collaboration at the Large Hadron Collider, Dr.Thom-Levy's research explores the fundamental forces and particles of nature.

Ritchie Patterson
Professor of Physics, Director of CLASSE, Cornell University