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Laura Gladstone

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Laura Gladstone

I'm currently a PhD student at the University of Wisconsin in Madison. I work on the IceCube Neutrino Observatory, which is headquartered in Madison, so I'm in a big group. We have 40 collaborators in Madison, and about 250 worldwide. As particle physics collaborations go, it's small compared to ATLAS or CMS, but big compared to any two or three year project.

My specific topic is looking at atmospheric neutrino oscillations. We're looking at neutrinos that have traveled all the way through the Earth, around 12,000 kilometers, and then interact in IceCube. Other experiments have seen neutrinos change as they travel from accelerator experiments or nuclear reactors, but that's at most 1,000 kilometers, so IceCube can see a new energy region for this effect. It also lays the framework for further studies of oscillations, which might show weird new effects like sterile neutrinos! But we haven't seen those yet.

I'm in the process of finishing up my thesis and looking for a job, which can get hectic. As that process unfolds, I'll tell you more about what it's like. In any case, I expect to leave Madison fairly soon, so I have to take the opportunity to tell as many people as possible how wonderful Madison is as a community. How wonderful is it? It's quite wonderful.

In college, I used to work on the MiniBooNE experiment at Fermilab, which got me interested in doing physics research in a large group. Doing winter shifts in Batavia, Illinois was also my first introduction to a Midwestern winter, but somehow I wasn't scared away effectively enough, and I still chose to go to grad school in the Midwest.

We moved around a lot when I was a kid, settling in Oregon for middle and high school. I kept moving though, going to New York for college at Columbia, and then to the Midwest for grad school. The end of my PhD will be time for another move!