Verena Ingrid Martinez Outschoorn

Verena Ingrid Martinez Outschoorn
Verena Ingrid Martinez Outschoorn

Primary Research Area

  • High Energy Physics
Adjunct Associate Professor
Associate Professor at University of Massachusetts Amherst

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Professor Martinez Outschoorn received her bachelor's degree in physics and mathematics in 2005 and her Ph.D. in physics in 2011 from Harvard University. She was a Lederman Postdoctoral Fellow at Fermi National Lab from 2011 to 2014. She joined the Department of Physics at the University of Illinois as an Assistant Professor in 2014.

Professor Martinez Outschoorn's research is in experimental high energy physics, focusing on the Large Hadron Collider at CERN. She is currently a member of the ATLAS Collaboration and has previously been a member of the CMS Collaboration.

Research Statement

I have been working at the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) at CERN since 2006. These years have been a very exciting era for particle physics with the construction, startup and running of the highest energy accelerator in the world. The LHC has given experimentalists access to energies that have never been explored before. The ATLAS and CMS experiments that I have worked on have already produced important discoveries and show potential hints of new physics. As experimenters at the LHC, we are all eagerly looking forward to collecting more data in the coming years to search for new physics that could help us better understand particle physics and possibly astrophysics and cosmology. The findings at the LHC could help answer important questions about the mechanism that gives rise to the observed light Higgs boson mass and the nature of dark matter.

My main physics interest is to search for new physics at the LHC. I am currently using the Higgs boson to search for new particles that could be indications of dark matter. I am also interested in searching for new particles that could explain why the Higgs boson is so light, like additional scalar particles or top partners. These signatures are often challenging to observe experimentally and require a detailed understanding of standard model backgrounds, particularly from events with top quark pairs.

I am working on improving the capabilities of the ATLAS experiment, focusing on the muon detectors. Muons are very powerful signatures of interesting events in LHC collisions and are therefore one of the most important triggers used to collect data. The LHC is expected to operate for many years and we will not be able to handle the large amounts of collisions expected in the future without the upgrades I am working on. We are designing and constructing upgrades to the trigger and readout of the muon spectrometer to improve its detection capabilities.

Selected Articles in Journals

Research Honors

  • National Science Foundation CAREER Award (2017)

Recent Courses Taught

  • PHYS 212 - University Physics: Elec & Mag
  • PHYS 485 - Atomic Phys & Quantum Theory

Semesters Ranked Excellent Teacher by Students

Spring 2017PHYS 212