Caltech’s Kathryn Zurek Has Been Named a 2020 Simmons Investigator

Kathryn Zurek, a professor of theoretical physics at the California Institute of Technology, has been named a 2020 Simons Investigator. According to the foundation, Simmons investigators are “outstanding theoretical scientists who receive a stable base of research support from the foundation, enabling them to undertake the long-term study of fundamental questions.” Investigators receive $100,000 annually for five years.

Professor Zurek studies dark matter, an invisible substance that pervades our universe. Dark matter has been indirectly detected through the gravitational tugs it exerts on ordinary matter, but it does not give off any light. Dr. Zurek also develops theories for observational techniques to measure dark matter clumps in our galaxy and, in the realm of particle physics, has studied the impact of the Higgs boson on cosmological history.

Zurek received her bachelor’s degree in physics from Bethel University in St. Paul. Minnesota. She earned a Ph.D. in physics from the University of Washington in 2006. Dr. Zurek served as a professor of physics at the University of Michigan from 2009 to 2014 and then as a senior scientist at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory from 2014 to 2019. She joined the faculty at Caltech in 2019.

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