Fred Olness, Physics, has been chosen as the inaugural Theorist of the Week by the Helmholtz Alliance. The program has been created “to improve the exchange between theory and experiment and to strengthen the theory background of experimental Ph.D. students.” Olness will spend a week at Deutsches Elektronen-Synchrotron (DESY), Germany’s largest accelerator center, from March 8-12, 2010. He will give a seminar on “W/Z/Higgs Production at the Large Hadron Collider and PDF Uncertainties.” W and Z boson production will be used as benchmark processes at the LHC to calibrate various searches for the Higgs boson and other “new physics” processes. Properly quantifying uncertainties will help physicists maximize the discovery potential of the LHC.
In addition, Olness has been elected co-spokesperson of the CTEQ collaboration, an international collaboration of the top 30 experimentalists and theorists from 18 universities and 5 national laboratories working on quantum chromodynamics.
A 2009 recipient of SMU’s Ford Research Fellowship, Olness specializes in elementary particle physics phenomenology with an emphasis in quantum chromodynamics, the force that binds nuclei. His research seeks to determine the fundamental building blocks of nature and what holds them together. He also serves as 2009-10 SMU Faculty Senate president.