<california institute of technology professor Kathryn Zurek Wins Simons Investigator Award>
July 11, 2020 • jainendra joshi • JOBS AND CARRER



               <Kathryn Zurek Wins Simons Investigator Award>


Zurek studies substance , an invisible substance that pervades our universe. substance has been

indirectly detected through the gravitational tugs it exerts on ordinary matter, but it doesn't give off any

light. For quite a decade, Zurek has been arising with new ideas for what might constitute dark matter—

so-called "hidden sector" or "hidden valley" theories—and designing new ways to detect the substance

using tabletop experiments. The substance particles suggested by hidden valley theories are lighter than

those proposed previously, like WIMPs (weakly interacting massive particles), and interact with ordinary

matter in entirely new ways. consistent with Zurek, the hidden sector particles aren't meant to unravel any

problems of the visible universe and instead "have a lifetime of their own." She also develops theories for

observational techniques to live substance clumps in our galaxy and, within the realm of high-energy

physics , has studied the impact of the Higgs boson on cosmological history. Recently, she has been

looking for signatures of the quantum nature of gravity in tabletop experiments. Zurek received her

baccalaureate in physics from Minnesota's Bethel University in 2001 and her PhD in physics from the

University of Washington in 2006. She served as a professor of physics at the University of Michigan from

2009 to 2014 then as a senior scientist at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory from 2014 to 2019.

She joined the school at Caltech in 2019.