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Melissa Franklin is an experimental particle physicist interested in studying the interactions of elementary particles at high energies and small distances. She has been working for the past twenty years on variations on an experiment colliding protons with anti-protons. She works in an international collaboration with 650 other scientists. In 1995, this collaboration discovered the most massive and last quark of six, the top quark. She has built large particle detectors for this experiment and written more than three hundred papers describing various aspects of these collisions.
During her fellowship term, she will continue to work on analyzing data from the proton and anti-proton collider experiment, but will also begin a new project in astrophysics centered on the study of dark matter and dark energy. This requires learning how to design and build specific cameras for telescopes, learning the experimental methods of astronomy, and learning more about cosmology.
Franklin received her PhD in physics from Stanford University in 1983 and her BSc from the University of Toronto in 1977. She was a postdoctoral fellow at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, taught at the University of Illinois, and was a junior fellow in the Harvard Society of Fellows. She is presently the Mallinckrodt Professor of Physics at Harvard University. Her research is supported by the US Department of Energy.