Virginia Tech physicist Patrick Huber has been named as the recipient of a prestigious Early Career Research Award (ECRA) from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE).
Huber, who is an assistant professor in the Department of Physics in the College of Science, will receive $750,000 for his research on neutrinos in the universe. Huber was one of only 69 awardees from a pool of 1,750 university- and national laboratory-based applicants.
The DOE’s ECRA program was created under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act and is designed to bolster the nation’s scientific workforce by providing support to exceptional researchers during the crucial early career years, when many scientists do their most formative work.
“Patrick’s research focuses on one of the most remarkable particles in the universe, the neutrino,” said Beate Schmittmann, department chair. “Even though it interacts only extremely weakly with matter, it plays a critical role in our understanding of the expansion of the universe, the emergence of ordinary matter, and nuclear reactions.”
Huber said, "If and when we truly understand it (the neutrino), we will have made crucial progress in cosmology, astrophysics, and elementary particle physics." He has developed a major software library, GLoBES, which has become the international standard for evaluating the capabilities of planned multi-million dollar experiments in neutrino physics.
The department’s neutrino group has grown into one of the largest and most visible neutrino research groups in the nation and the world.
“Patrick’s award, once again, illustrates the outstanding quality of our junior faculty, Schmittmann said. “Over the past three years, they have won four prestigious early career awards, and I am certain there are more to come.”
Huber joined Virginia Tech in 2008. He received his doctorate in 2003 from the Technische Universität München, one of Germany’s nine Excellence Universities.
Learn more about neutrino research at Virginia Tech:
- University Spotlight on Innovation: “Everything under the Sun”
- “Scientists at Virginia Tech Explore the Heart of the Sun and Other Deep Mysteries”
- “Researchers detect low-energy neutrinos and probe energy production in the center of the sun”