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Physics Graduate Student Earns Trip to Europe
For Special Conference With Nobel Laureates

Date: June 26, 2001
By: Chris Curran
Phone: (513) 556-1806
Archive: Research News

Jennifer Raaf, a doctoral student in physics at UC, will be one of 38 American graduate students rubbing elbows with dozens of Nobel Laureates and European royalty June 25-29 in Lindau, Germany. The Lindau meeting has been a tradition since 1951 to help promising young scientists connect with the best in their fields. The hostess is Sonja Countess Bernadotte af Wisborg, Sweden.

"I never imagined that I would be one of the students chosen out of the many who were nominated," said Raaf, shortly before her flight to Europe. "I just turned in the application on the off-chance that I might 'win the lottery.'"

Raaf, the only student from an Ohio college to be invited this year, studies one of the most fundamental mysteries of science: the so-called "missing matter of the universe."

"I'm working on an experiment at Fermilab called MiniBooNE," explained Raaf. More specifically, MiniBooNE will be looking for neutrino oscillations (neutrinos of one type transforming into another type). Why is this interesting? If we see neutrino oscillations, that means neutrinos actually DO have mass (very small) and that could possibly account for the missing matter in the universe."

Fermilab is one of the top high-energy particle physics labs in the United States. Raaf was also invited to present her research results at Europe's top physics lab (CERN) in Switzerland after the Lindau conference. Her adviser, Professor Randy Johnson, said the Lindau honor and invitation to CERN speak well of Raaf's research and abilities. "Students for all areas of science and engineering are in the running. Selection is done on merit and determined by the nomination papers. Selection puts Jen in the cream of the science doctoral students of her class."

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