School of Humanities and Sciences
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Professor of Particle Physics and Astrophysics and of Physics
BioWhat were the first objects that formed in the Universe? Prof. Abel's group explores the first billion years of cosmic history using ab initio supercomputer calculations. He has shown from first principles that the very first luminous objects are very massive stars and has developed novel numerical algorithms using adaptive-mesh-refinement simulations that capture over 14 orders of magnitude in length and time scales. He currently continues his work on the first stars and first galaxies and their role in chemical enrichment and cosmological reionization. His group studies any of the first objects to form in the universe: first stars, first supernovae, first HII regions, first magnetic fields, first heavy elements, and so on. Most recently he is pioneering novel numerical algorithms to study collisionless fluids such as dark matter which makes up most of the mass in the Universe as well as astrophysical and terrestrial plasmas. He was the director of the Kavli Institute for Particle Astrophysics and Cosmology and Division Director at SLAC 2013-2018.
Financial Manager, Physics
BioKaren Ajluni is the Finance Manager in the Physics Department within the School of Humanities and Sciences at Stanford University. Before coming to Stanford, Karen worked for four years at Santa Clara University, most recently as Assistant Dean of Administration and Finance in the School of Education and Counseling Psychology. Prior to that she was the Operations and Administration Manager of the Miller Center for Social Entrepreneurship. Karen has been employed in non-profit and educational administration for over 25 years, and has experience with a wide variety of organizations, including Downtown College Prep High School, the Girl Scouts of Northern California, EHC Lifebuilders, Futures without Violence, and Project Match. She received a B.S. in Psychology from Santa Clara University and a Masters in Public Administration from San Jose State University. Karen lives at home with her husband and three children.
Professor of Particle Physics and Astrophysics and, by courtesy, of Physics
Dan Akerib joined the department in 2014 with a courtesy appointment, in conjunction with a full-time appointment to the Particle Physics & Astrophysics faculty at SLAC. He has searched for WIMP dark matter particles since the early 1990s, first with the Cryogenic Dark Matter Search and more recently with the LUX and LUX-ZEPLIN projects. His current interests are in extending the sensitivity to dark matter through expanding and improving time projection chambers that use liquid xenon as a target medium. Together with Tom Shutt, he has led the establishment of a Liquid Nobles Test Platform at SLAC. The group specializes in detector development, xenon purification, and simulations, and has a broad range of opportunities for graduate and undergraduate students to participate in hardware and software development, as well as data analysis.
- AB 1984, University of Chicago
- Ph.D. 1990 Princeton University
- Research Fellow, California Institute of Technology, 1990 - 1992
- Center Fellow, Center for Particle Astrophysics, UC Berkeley 1993 - 1996
- Assistant Professor, Case Western Reserve University, 1995-2001
- Associate Professor, Case Western Reserve University, 2001-2004
- Professor, Case Western Reserve University, 2004-2014
- Chair, Case Western Reserve University, 2007-2010
- Professor, Particle Physics & Astrophysics, SLAC 2014 - present
Professor of Physics and of Particle Physics and Astrophysics
Current Research and Scholarly InterestsObservational astrophysics and cosmology; galaxies, galaxy clusters, dark matter and dark energy; applications of statistical methods; X-ray astronomy; X-ray detector development; optical astronomy; mm-wave astronomy; radio astronomy; gravitational lensing.