Maria Spiropulu, a professor of Physics at Caltech’s PMA, is a world renowned experimental particle physics researcher and a notable
mentor of many graduate and undergraduate students. She worked for 10 years at the Tevatron’s
collider experiments at Fermilab in Chicago and 13 years at the CERN’s Large Hadron Collider with
leading roles on detector R&D and operations and in the searches for new physics including the
discovery of the Higgs boson.
She is known for developing the “double blind” data analysis method
for the first time in searches for supersymmetry at the Tevatron and inventing the novel “razor” framework
for discovery and characterization of new physics.
Spiropulu received her PhD from Harvard in 2000 and
was an Enrico Fermi Fellow at the University of Chicago until 2003. She moved to CERN in 2004 as a research
staff physicist at the Physics Division and was promoted to a senior physicist position at CERN in 2008.
She was appointed a Professor of Physics at Caltech in 2009. Spiropulu is an AAAS fellow since 2010 “For her leadership
in experimental high-energy physics, in particular for her pioneering efforts in the experimental search
for supersymmetry and extra dimensions” and an APS fellow since 2014 "For pioneering searches
for supersymmetry and extra dimensions at the Tevatron, innovative searches for new physics and the
study of the Higgs boson at the LHC, and key contributions to triggering and data flow for CDF and
In the past years she has been working on advanced data technologies with an eye on using AI methods to enable and accelerate scientific discovery. She initiated a
collaboration with leading quantum computation researchers targeting the embedding of physics problems onto the D-Wave quantum annealer.
Spiropulu is a member of the Fermilab Physics
Advisory Committee as well as the High Energy Physics Advisory Panel (HEPAP) to the U.S.
Department of Energy and the National Science Foundation. She is the chair of the Forum of
International Physics of the American Physical Society and serves on the Advisory Panel of the
HEP Forum for Computational Excellence and is a member of the Aspen Center for Physics. Spiropulu
has been contributing to intellectual exchange forums such as the Edge (edge.org) and has
participated in many public outreach science events and documentaries (NASA TV, NOVA,
Science Channel’s Wormhole, the History Channel, the San Francisco Exploratorium etc).
Spiropulu is the author of "Where is Einstein?", the final chapter in "My Einstein: Essays by twenty four
of the World's Leading Thinkers on the Man, His Work, and His Legacy. In 2015 she delivered
Master Classes at the World Science University in NY and in 2016 she participated at the World Science Festival’s
gravity and dark matter panels. She is the founder of the Physics of the Universe Summit (POTUS), a meeting held under
Chatham House Rules that explores challenges in emerging and cross-cutting areas of science & technology.
- 2010-: HCAL DPG deputy
- 2010-: HCAL Noise WG
- 2008 : SYSY/Exotica Trigger Validation: preparation for data
- 2008 : Calorimetry Task Force
- 2005-2008: Convener, SUSY & Beyond the Standard Model CMS Physics group
- 2005-2007: Annual Reviewer, CMS Hadron Calorimeter Project
- 2005-2007: Scientific Secretary/Deputy Chair CMS Conference Committee
- 2006: Physics Rep CMS Tier-0 RTAG task force
@ the compact muon solenoid
- Distinguishing look-alike interpretations on new physics, LHC First Data
December 12-14 2010 MCTP, University of Michigan
- SUSY Searches at CMS LHC2010, Split, Oct 2010
- Origins and the LHC Arizona State University, launch of the Origins Institute, invited panelist, ASU, April 2009
- SUSY at the LHC, SUSY07, July 26-Aug 1 2007, Karlsruhe, Germany
- Strategizing Discovery, Physics at LHC: from Experiment to Theory, 21-24 March 2007, Princeton, NJ
- Status and Physics Startup for CMS, 2nd HERA-LHC workshop, 6-9 June 2006, CERN, Switzerland
SUSY at the Large Hadron Collider, Physics at LHC, 3-8 July 2006, Cracow, Poland.
- Getting Ready for the LHC, SUSY06 Plenary on LHC, 12-1>Supersymmetry Searches at The Tevatron, Conference on QCD and High Energy Hadronic Interactions, XXXVIth Rencontres de Moriond, 17-24 Mar 2001, Les Arcs, Savoie, France
Collider Signals from Extra Dimensions, Aspen Winter Conference on Astrophysics, 30 Jan -5 Feb 2000, Aspen CO
Experimental Signals from Higher Dimensions, Aspen Winter Conference on Particle Physics, 16-22 Jan 2000, Aspen CO
Beyond the Standard Model at the Tevatron, Aspen Winter Conference on Particle Physics, 17-23 Jan 1999, Aspen, CO
selected invited lectures at international conferences / workshops
- Gravity and the LHC, Confronting Gravity, 16-21 March 2006,St. Thomas, USVI
- Space Exploration using Colliders,
Science Innovation: Physical Science Frontiers Symposium, American Association
for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) 2003 Annual Meeting, Denver, Feb. 15 2003
- In Search of Extra Dimensions,
Science Innovation Invited Plenary Lecture, American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) 2002 Annual Meeting, Boston, 17 Feb. 2002.
- In Search of Extra Dimensions,
Invited Plenary Lecture, April 2001 American Physical Society (APS) Meeting, Washington DC, 28 Apr. 2001.
selected featured lectures at international conferences
- LHC: Year 0 December 2010, Physics Department, The University of Michicagn.
- The Universe in Collisions , May 2009, Kavli Institute for Theoretical Physics, UCSB
- SUSY at the LHC , December 13 2007, Physics Department, Roma-Tre, Rome, Italy
- SUSY searches at the LHC, September 24 2007, Physics Department, Catania, Sicily
- Discovery Physics at the LHC, April 13 2007, Physics Department, California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, CA
- ``Discovery Physics at the LHC'', February 5 2007, Physics Department, Harvard University, Boston MA
- SUSY at the LHC, October 6 2006, Physics Department, University of Cyprus
The physics of Extra Dimensions at LHC, May 28 2004, IN2P3-CNRS, LLR Paris.
CDF RUNII Status and Results, April 5 2004, LPHE, Lausanne.
Experimental Particle Cosmology, December 9 2003, Renaissance Technologies, Stonybrook.
The Unbearable Lightness of Gravity, November 21 2003, Argonne National Laboratory.
Space Exploration in High Energy Colliders, March 17 2003, University of Michigan.
Present and Future of Supersymmetry in Colliders, March 11 2003, Ohio State University.
Missing Energy as a signature of new physics, May 3 2003, Caltech.
There is something about SUSY, 9 May 2002, University of Chicago,
Oct 3 2002 Caltech, and Nov 28 2002 MIT.
CDF present and future measurements and searches, Humboldt University Oct 28 2002.
Extra Dimensions and the FNAL CDF Detector, 3 May 2002, Yale University.
Signals from Extra Dimensions, 20 Sep 2001, Purdue University.
Experimental Signals from Higher Dimensions, Spring 2000, University of New Hampshire and Vanderbilt University.
selected departmental colloquia
- 2009, AAAS, Physics Symposium, , February 15, Chicago, IL
- 2008, AAAS, Physics Symposium, Large-Scale International Collaborations and the Future of Physics , February 15, Boston, MA
- 2007, AAAS, Physics Symposium, co-organizer [with DoE],
A New Frontier in High Energy Physics February 16 2007, San Fransisco, CA
- SUSY06, Collider Physics Session, UCI, 2006, co-convener
- 2005 AAAS, Physics & Technology Symposium, Organizer; :
The Highest Energy CollidersFeb. 19 2005 and
Grids:At the Frontiers of Science and Global Collaboration Feb. 21, 2005 Washington DC.
2005 Aspen Winter ConferenceThe Highest Energy Physics Aspen CO, Feb 13-19 2005.
2003 AAAS, Physics Symposium, Organizer; The Physics of Extra Dimensions, February 13-17 Feb 2003, Denver CO. UChicago Press release
2002 Aspen Winter Conference on Particle Physics, Current and Upcoming Discoveries 3-9 Feb 2002, Aspen CO.
- 2001, Snowmass 2001, The future of particle physics, 1-20 July 2001, Snowmass, CO
selected events organizer
- Communicating Science Contribution to "Success Strategies for Women in Science: A Portable Mentor (Continuing Professional Development Series)" (Paperback) 2006
Quarks Unbound, Sharon Butler and Maria Spiropulu, the particle physics brochure commissioned by Chris Quigg for the Division of Particles and Fields of the American Physical Society. Recipient of the Golden Trumpet award of Publicity Club of Chicago in 2003.
- The Elegant Universe A NOVA WGBH/PBS production (2003), participation
- Science Friday National Public Radio, 8 Feb, 2002 on Particle Physics
- Live from the Edge of Space and Time Passport to knowledge and NASA TV,April 2001, participation
- Scientific American, Ask the Experts section, October 1999: What is antimatter?
- Initiated Fermilab sponsored award to the finalists of the annual Illinois Junior Academy of Science Fair, 1999
Initiated funding proposal and establishment of the annual FNAL/GSA New Perspectives George Michail Poster award , 1999
Selected for American Physical Society's "Public Face for Physics" Program (1996)
selected outreach and initiatives
Trillions of reasons to be excited