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Women @ Energy: Natalie Roe

March 13, 2013 - 5:31pm


Dr. Natalie Roe is an experimental particle physicist and observational cosmologist.

Dr. Natalie Roe is an experimental particle physicist and observational cosmologist.

Dr. Natalie Roe is an experimental particle physicist and observational cosmologist. She earned her undergraduate degree in Physics from Harvard, and her Ph.D. at Stanford, joining the Berkeley Lab in 1989 as a postdoctoral fellow. Highlights of her research career include analysis of W and Z boson decays at the Fermilab Tevatron, the study of CP violation in B mesons at the SLAC asymmetric B Factory, and most recently, large astronomical surveys designed to shed light on the mystery of dark energy. She led the design and construction of the Silicon Vertex Tracker for the BaBar experiment and is currently the Instrument Scientist for the Baryon Oscillation Spectroscopic Survey (BOSS) experiment. She is also the group leader of the Berkeley Lab MicroSystems Laboratory (MSL), which fabricates high performance CCD sensors. The MSL fabricated all of the CCDs for the 500 Megapixel Dark Energy Survey Camera that will soon start taking data at the Blanco telescope in Chile.

Dr. Roe has served on many national committees and panels, including the High Energy Physics Advisory Panel, the Fermilab PAC, the DESY Scientific Council, and the NSF Committee of Visitors. She is currently a member of the CERN Science Policy Committee. She is a Fellow of the American Physical Society and past Chair of the APS Division of Particles and Fields.

1) What inspires you to work in STEM?

In my fields of particle physics and cosmology we are trying to answer age-old questions: what are the basic constituents of the Universe; how did the Universe begin; what is its ultimate fate? As experimentalists we get our roll up our sleeves to build cutting edge detectors, electronics, accelerators and telescopes. I find this to be a compelling combination: lofty questions and nitty-gritty technical challenges.

2)  What excites you about your work at the Energy Department/Berkeley Lab?

The opportunity to explore challenging questions in fundamental research using cutting-edge technology and working with incredibly smart and talented people gets me up in the morning.

3) How can our country engage more women, girls, and other underrepresented groups in STEM?

More role models as science and math teachers, faculty members and researchers would certainly help. It is incredibly important to provide a solid educational foundation in math during the early years.

4)  Do you have tips you would recommend for someone looking to enter your field of work?

Get involved in research as early as you can to see if you have a taste and a talent for it.

5)  When you have free time, what are your hobbies?

I enjoy playing tennis, skiing and hiking.