Last week, physics (yes, physics!) grabbed the headlines: a group of scientists at Switzerland’s European Center for Nuclear Research (CERN) presented results suggesting that subatomic particles known as neutrinos had been clocked going faster than the speed of light.
The news reports, even for those of us reading them at the most lay level possible, were fascinating, but I found myself even more interested in the lives of the people pursuing this kind of research. At the very same moment that I was banging my head against the wall trying to get a fairly simple software program to work (a program, by the way, that comes with a comprehensive users’ manual that tells me exactly what to do), these people, these physicists, were working on nothing less than cracking the secrets of the universe. I found myself wanting to speak directly with such a person, and Sarah Demers, who appears to travel fairly close to the speed of light herself, graciously agreed.
About Sarah Demers: Sarah Demers (pictured here with her son Jonah and daughter Alina) is an assistant professor of physics at Yale University. She also works on the ATLAS experiment at CERN. Sarah did her undergraduate work at Harvard, and she received her Ph.D. from the University of Rochester. I like that her To Do list includes things like “Find the Higgs boson.”