[Stanford University]
                        and Sciences][Stanford University]
Department of Physics

Patricia Burchat 

Professor of Physics

Department Chair, Physics (9/1/2007 to 8/31/2010)

Gabilan Professorship

Patricia Burchat

CV available in PDF
or Word format.

Room 158
Varian Physics Bldg
382 Via Pueblo Mall
Stanford, CA 94305-4060

tel 650-725-5771
fax 650-725-6544

Research Interests

Professor Burchat's research interests focus on fundamental physics:  What is the Universe made of?  What are the laws of physics that govern the fundamental constituents of the Universe?

Professor Burchat has been a key player in a number of accelerator-based particle physics experiments that probe the fundamental interactions, especially the “weak” interaction.  She is beginning a new research effort on a large survey telescope, with a focus on mapping the “dark matter” in the universe as a probe for understanding the nature of “dark energy”.

Professor Burchat's research efforts in accelerator-based experimental particle physics are focused on understanding differences in the way matter and antimatter evolve in time. Professor Burchat is a member of the BABAR Collaboration, an international group of over 500 physicists conducting an experiment at the Stanford Linear Accelerator Center. The BABAR detector is used to record the products of electron-positron annihilations at the asymmetric-energy B Factory – in particular, the decay products of short-lived B mesons, which contain the bottom or anti-bottom quark. The experiment has reported statistically significant evidence of differences in the time evolution of B and anti-B mesons, and is investigating many rare decays of B mesons for possible signatures of physics beyond the “standard model” of particle physics. In the past, Professor Burchat has been active on an experiment at Fermilab (E791) to study the production and decay of particles containing the charm quark, the Mark II experiment at the SLAC Linear Collider, which studied production and decay of the Z boson – the neutral carrier of the weak interaction – and studies for a very high energy linear collider.

While continuing her collaboration on the BABAR experiment, Prof. Burchat also has a research effort that uses astronomical observations of the Universe to investigate the distribution of dark matter in the universe and the nature of dark energy, through “gravitational lensing”, the bending of light by matter.  She is working with colleagues at Stanford to measure the masses of giant clusters of galaxies using images from the Subaru Telescope in Hawaii.

Prof. Burchat is a member of the Large Synoptic Survey Telescope (LSST) project.  The LSST design corresponds to an 8.4-meter ground-based telescope with a 10-square-degree field of view that will survey the universe with an unprecedented combination of breadth (coverage of the entire night-sky approximately every three nights) and depth (sensitivity to matter densities up to seven billion light-years away). The baseline design for the LSST camera is a 3.2 Gigapixel CCD array, which will be read out in approximately 1 second, every 15 seconds, generating tens of terabytes of data each night. The telescope will be located on Cerro Pachon, an 8,800-foot mountain peak in northern Chile. If the required funding is granted, the telescope could see “first light” around 2013.

Prof. Burchat currently holds the following positions in scientific 
collaborations, institutes and the community:

Specialties: LSST, BaBar, Fermilab E791

Career History

  • B. Appl. Sci. Eng. (Engineering Science), University of Toronto, 1981 
  • Ph.D., Stanford University, 1986 
  • Postdoctoral Fellow, Santa Cruz Inst. for Particle Physics, 1986-88 
  • Assistant Professor, UC Santa Cruz, 1988-92 
  • Associate Professor, UC Santa Cruz, 1992-94 
  • Associate Professor, Stanford University, 1995-2000
  • Professor, Stanford University, 2000-present

Honors and Awards

  • 2010 Judith Pool Award for mentoring young women in science
  • Walter J. Gores Award for Excellence in Teaching, 2007
  • Gabilan Professorship, 2006
  • Guggenheim Fellowship, 2005
  • Sapp Family University Fellow in Undergraduate Education, 2004-2009, 
  • Fellow of the American Physical Society, 2001
  • Stanford University Fellow, 1996-98 
  • The Dean’s Award for Distinguished Teaching, 1996-97   
  • National Science Foundation Presidential Young Investigator Award, 1991

Research Associates 

Graduate Students

Undergraduate Students

  • Emma Pierson

  • Former students
    • Dakin Sloss
    • Eddie Santos
    • Malcolm Durkin
    • Reyna Garcia
    • Elliott Jin
    • Yu Xian Lim
    • Klara Elteto
    • Brian Kaczynski
    • Beth Nowadnick
    • Daniel Podolsky
    • Ariel Sommer
    • Brendan Wells
    • Yue Zhao

Recent Presentations

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