Joel Giedt, assistant professor of physics, has won an Outstanding Junior Investigator (OJI) award in high-energy physics from the Department of Energy (DOE). He is the first from Rensselaer to receive this honor.
The five-year, $484,000 award will fund Giedt’s research in lattice field theory beyond the standard model of particle physics. The research taps the extraordinary computing power of the Computational Center for Nanotechnology Innovations (CCNI) to run simulations and test predictions about fundamental interactions of nature.
DOE established the OJI program in high-energy physics in 1978 to identify exceptionally talented high-energy physicists early in their careers and to support their research. Awards are extremely competitive, with only five to 10 proposals receiving funding each year.
“This achievement is the equivalent of a National Science Foundation CAREER award,” said Acting Dean of Science David Spooner. “It is reserved for the most talented young researchers in the nation and is an honor both for Joel and for Rensselaer.”
Giedt’s research is classified as “new physics.” It focuses on supersymmetric particles and uses state-of-the-art simulations to explore interactions at the same energy scale as experiments conducted with the Large Hadron Collider, the world’s largest, highest-energy particle accelerator.
“This type of research requires supercomputing resources,” Giedt said. “Fortunately, with CCNI, we have that.”
In fact, Giedt credits CCNI with playing a role in the OJI award. “The supercomputer is enabling us to break ground in areas that the physics community has wanted to explore for 10 years,” he said. “The DOE reviewers could see that something very different would be accomplished here.”
CCNI is one of the most powerful university-based supercomputing centers and a top 25 supercomputing center of any kind in the world. Based on the Rensselaer campus and at its Rensselaer Technology Park, CCNI is a collaboration of Rensselaer, IBM, and New York state.
Rensselaer’s supercomputing capabilities were instrumental in Giedt’s decision to come to the Institute in 2007. He is project director for LSYM@CCNI, which studies lattice super-Yang-Mills. LSYM@CCNI partners include Boston, Syracuse, and Yale universities and Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory.
Giedt has a bachelor’s degree in physics from San Francisco State University and a master’s and doctorate in physics, both from the University of California, Berkeley. He completed postdoctoral research at the Fine Theoretical Physics Institute, University of Minnesota and at the University of Toronto. He is a member of the American Physical Society and U.S. Lattice Quantum Chromodynamics.
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