With the discovery of the Higgs boson particle in July 2012, the science
media has taken a greater interest in the work of physicists, including
UC professor Dr. Jure Zupan.
“Professor Zupan has written several important papers on the Higgs
physics since its discovery,” says UC physics professor, Dr. Rohana
Wijewardhana. “One of them has helped establish that the discovered
particle is indeed the Higgs, rather than a Higgs imposter.”
For Dr. Zupan’s work with the Higgs boson and his continued
contributions to particle physics (particularly in the areas of dark
matter and quarks), the UC chapter of Sigma Xi has honored Dr. Zupan
with the 2014 Young Investigator Award. This award recognizes a junior
faculty member, currently in his/her early career, for distinguished
research accomplishments in a science or engineering field.
As a particle physics phenomenologist, Dr. Zupan works on the theory
side of physics. Unlike the physicists who oversee the particle
collision experiments – such as the experiments conducted in the Large
Hadron Collider at CERN in Geneva, Switzerland – Dr. Zupan’s work
involves trying to interpret the results from these experiments while
also making predictions of what phenomena could appear in future
experiments. The predictions of the theoretical physics community are
very important, as they inform what data will be recorded during future
“There’s been very rapid experimental and
theoretical progress in quite a few areas of particle physics right
now,” he said. “It’s a very exciting time to be working in this field.”
And Dr. Zupan is at the top of his field. “Jure [Zupan] is one of the
top ten particle physics phenomenologists of his generation,” says Dr.
Alex Kagan, fellow UC physics professor. Dr. Wijewardhana adds, “Since
coming to the University of Cincinnati, Professor Zupan has made many
well-recognized contributions to the areas of particle physics and
astrophysics. He has been one of the most prolific particle theorists in
the world.” Furthermore, the U.S. National Science Foundation recently
recognized Dr. Zupan with a prestigious Early Career Award for his
proposal “Dark Matter and Flavor.”
Dr. Zupan said he was very honored – and very happy – to learn that
he was the 2014 Young Investigator Award recipient. “The winner from
last year was very impressive, so I was quite pleasantly surprised,” Dr.
Zupan says. “It’s nice to be recognized by a community larger than your
own specialized field.”
The award certificate and $500 honorarium
were presented at a spring Sigma Xi meeting. As part of the award, Dr.
Zupan will present a lecture on his research during the fall Sigma Xi
meeting. The Young Investigator Award was funded by the UC chapter of Sigma Xi and the UC Office of Research.