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Laura Gladstone

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Laura Gladstone

I'm a postdoc at MIT studying neutrinos. My main work is on the CUORE experiment at the Gran Sasso Laboratory in the mountains east of Rome, so for most of this year I'm living at the lab in Italy.

I did my PhD thesis on IceCube at the University of Wisconsin in Madison. IceCube is headquartered in Madison, so it was a big group. We had 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 was looking at atmospheric neutrino oscillations. We looked 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.

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, to the Midwest for grad school, and now Italy and Boston for this postdoc.