Monday, April 21, 2008

Σπυροπούλου [Maria Spiropulu]--physicist

Maria Spiropulu

Some time ago when I was involved in a physics forum, and there was a topic initiated on the sparsity of women in the sciences--physics in particular. During the course of discussion I received a letter from Maria Spiropulu who at that time was at Fermi Labs and has now moved to CERN and the LHC project. Happily, I can say that more women are becoming involved in all branches of the sciences--especially physics.

My name is Maria Spiropulu and I am a research physicist.

I am very glad to see in this forum an organized effort to encourage students, starting at the early stages of their education , to be and keep being scientifically literate as adults. And if they choose to do so, to professionally and successfully be involved in scientific research in an academic or technology related environment. The young wave of college and graduate students in my field, and I think in most natural sciences, both genders, is an enthusiastic, creative, mutlitalented and fun bunch of people to work with, teach and learn from.

In this country the overall number of students that finish with scientific or technology related bachelors degrees and those who are entering in college in such disciplines seems to be going down a fact which is alerting indeed -- and I believe the government is paying close attention to this issue.

I am writing a chapter for a guide-to-science collection that will be published soon and I will keep you posted when it comes out.

With Best Regards,



Maria Spiropulu...was born in 1970 in Kastoria, a small mountain town of Greece, and is an experimental physicist; she is currently based at CERN, the European high-energy physics laboratory outside Geneva, and is working on experiments for the Large Hadron Collider. These experiments are designed to test some of the most imaginative and far reaching ideas ever proposed in physics and are hoped to begin at 2008. She describes her work as part of the search to discover the origins of the universe.

Maria Spiropulu received her Bachelor’s degree from the Physics Department of the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki in 1993. She had already begun research activity from 1991, working as a technical assistant at CERN’S DELPHI and later at BESSY, the synchrotron laboratory in Berlin, Germany. After graduation she went to Harvard University for her PhD in particle physics.

For the next seven years her time was shared between Boston and Batavia, Illinois, home of Tevatron, the world’s highest energy particle accelerator at that time, where she worked for the Collider Detector at Fermilab (CDF) experiment. For her Doctoral thesis, which was completed in August 21, 2000, Spiropulu developed a “blind” analysis, to search the accelerator’s output data for evidence of supersymmetry.

Throughout her “schooling”, she had other interests. She played drums and sang for a Fermilab band called "Drug Sniffing Dogs" (a particular exotic band, with a repertoire ranging from Metal to Jazz), until she was expelled for not attending rehearsals. She also practiced for several years in martial arts, especially karate, and later went on her way by doing kick boxing. In her early teens, she wanted to be an F-16 pilot and then an astronaut.

With a new PhD from Harvard, Maria Spiropulu joined the University of Chicago in 2001, and began searching for spatial extra-dimensions. Her analysis was based on Tevatron data obtained from 1992 to 1996. She was offered a research physicist position at CERN’s LHC in 2003, but before joining CERN, she worked for the University of California, Santa Barbara, where she set up extra dimensions analyses with RunII data. On September 19, 2003, she reported, along with Kevin Burkett of Harvard, that any extra-dimensions, if they exist, must be curled up into circles smaller than a hundredth of an inch.

The hunting for physics beyond the Standard Model, including signal for supersymmetry and extra dimensions/Kaluza-Klein gravitons, led Maria Spiropulu, in 2004, back to Geneva and CERN, where the LHC will turn on with an energy seven times larger than Tevatron. There, together with thousands of physicists, she helps prepare for a revolution she says “will blow our minds”.

Three of her papers:

"Collider Experiment: Strings, Branes and Extra Dimensions"

"Experimental Status of Beyond the Standard Model Collider Searches"

"Particle Physics Probes Of Extra Spacetime Dimensions"

Maria Spiropulu's web page [under construction] at CERN

No comments: