Kevin T Pitts



Kevin T Pitts

Primary Research Area

  • High Energy Physics
437A Loomis Laboratory


Kevin T. Pitts is a high energy experimentalist who has made seminal contributions to the measurement and understanding of CP violation in bottom quark decays . He received a B.A. in physics and mathematics from Anderson University (1987) and M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in physics from the University of Oregon (1989 and 1994, respectively). After working as a research associate at Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory in the Collider Detector Facility (CDF) experiments, Professor Pitts joined the faculty at the University of Illinois in 1999.

Professor Pitts continues to carry out research at Fermilab, with the CDF experiment and the Muon g-2 experiment.

On CDF, Pitts served in a number of roles, including leader of the Bottom Physics Working Group, leader of the Trigger and Dataset Working Group and Physics Coordinator. He led the Illinois effort to construct the very-high-speed digital trigger system, a central component of the experiment. His research focuses on the physics of heavy quarks and the Higgs boson.

On the Muon g-2 experiment, Pitts leads the effort to develop a high precision clock and control system and is also active on the high speed data acquisition system.

His service to the high energy physics community includes Chair of the Fermilab Users Executive Committee, and member of the National User Facility Organization, the Particle Physics Project Prioritization Panel (P5), and the Long Baseline Neutrino Commitee (LBNC). Pitts currently serves as the Chief Research Officer at Fermilab.

Professor Pitts is an engaging and gifted teacher. He has developed a number of unique courses and has been a leader in presenting science to the public. He is dedicated to undergraduate education, serving as Associate Head for Undergraduate Programs (2010-2014) and as Associate Dean for Undergraduate Programs in the College of Engineering (2014-2017), and the Vice Provost for Undergraduate Education (2017-2021). He has been a leading voice in helping physics students identify career paths and is extremely active in the Conference for Undergraduate Women in Physics series, serving as Chair of the National Organizing Committee in 2015.


  • American Association for the Advancement of Science Fellow
  • University of Illinois University Scholar
  • American Physical Society Fellow
  • Universities Research Association Visiting Fellow
  • Xerox Award for Outstanding Research
  • Provost's Initiative on Teaching Advancement Award
  • Arnold O. Nordsieck Award for Excellence in Teaching
  • Engineering Council Award for Excellence in Advising
  • National Science Foundation CAREER Award
  • U.S. Department of Energy Outstanding Junior Investigator
  • Center for Advanced Study Fellow

Semesters Ranked Excellent Teacher by Students

Fall 2013PHYS 192
Spring 2013PHYS 199
Fall 2012PHYS 192
Spring 2012PHYS 199
Spring 2011PHYS 192
Fall 2010PHYS 192
Spring 2010PHYS 192
Fall 2009PHYS 192
Spring 2009PHYS 199
Spring 2007PHYS 199
Fall 2006PHYS 199
Spring 2006PHYS 199
Fall 2004PHYS 150
Spring 2004PHYS 326
Fall 2003PHYS 225
Spring 2003PHYS 326
Fall 2002PHYS 225

Related news

  • Faculty News

Kevin Pitts of the University of Illinois has been named chief research officer at Fermilab National Accelerator Laboratory beginning March 1. His focus will be on oversight for the international Deep Underground Neutrino Experiment, including advancing scientific excellence across the laboratory through strong communication, collaboration and coordination with the Department of Energy and other partners. He joins the laboratory as it prepares to usher in a new era of science and innovation in particle physics research and discovery. Pitts joins Fermilab after 22 years with the University of Illinois where he was most recently the vice provost for undergraduate education and a professor of physics in the Grainger College of Engineering. He has a long history working on experiments at Fermilab, including participation in the discovery of the top quark in 1995.  Additionally, he has been serving on the Long Baseline Neutrino Committee since 2016.

  • Research
  • Particle Physics
  • High Energy Physics

What do you get when you revive a beautiful 20-year-old physics machine, carefully transport it 3,200 miles over land and sea to its new home, and then use it to probe strange happenings in a magnetic field? Hopefully you get new insights into the elementary particles that make up everything.

The Muon g-2 experiment, located at the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory, has begun its quest for those insights. This month, the 50-foot-wide superconducting electromagnet at the center of the experiment saw its first beam of muon particles from Fermilab’s accelerators, kicking off a three-year effort to measure just what happens to those particles when placed in a stunningly precise magnetic field. The answer could rewrite scientists’ picture of the universe and how it works.