|Katherine Myers Mesick '05 wins American Physical Society Dissertation Award in Nuclear Physics
Lebanon Valley College alumna Dr. Katherine Myers Mesick '05 has been awarded the American Physical Society Dissertation Award in Nuclear Physics.
Graduating with a bachelor of science in physics, Mesick attended graduate school at George Washington University and received her Ph.D. in 2012 for analysis of data from the Qweak experiment at the Thomas Jefferson National Accelerator Facility. The Qweak experiment uses parity violating electron scattering to determine the weak charge of the proton.
Mesick was awarded the American Physical Society Dissertation Award in Nuclear Physics for her thesis “The First Determination of the Proton’s Weak Charge Through Parity-Violating Asymmetry Measurements in Elastic e + p and e + Al Scattering,” and is currently a postdoctoral research fellow at Rutgers University.
“My main focus as a Rutgers postdoc is the ‘MUSE’ Experiment: the MUon proton Scattering Experiment,” Mesick explains on her LinkedIn profile. “This experiment has been recently approved at the Paul Scherrer Institute in Switzerland. We want to address the ‘proton radius puzzle’; the puzzle over why the proton radius is different depending on if you use electrons or muons to probe it. The 7-sigma discrepancy has attracted a lot of attention and there are numerous possible explanations. Our aim is to measure electron-proton and muon-proton scattering at very low momentum transfer, and do a direct comparison of the proton radius extracted in these two cases. This will test if electrons and muons might actually be different, and we will also be studying two-photon exchange effects by measuring both particle polarities.”
Mesick was previously awarded the Jefferson Sciences Associates/Jefferson Lab Thesis Prize in 2012, given to the best Ph.D. student thesis at the Thomas Jefferson National Accelerator Facility.