Bonnie Fleming Appointed the Horace D. Taft Associate Professor

Bonnie T. Fleming, the newly appointed Horace D. Taft Associate Professor of Physics, is noted for her research on neutrinos, the tiniest building blocks of all matter.

Her experimental research program focuses on precision tracking experiments looking for unexpected properties of neutrino interactions. She has also been the participant in a 10-year experiment on the behavior of neutrinos called “MiniBooNE,” designed to investigate observations in the 1990s from the Department of Energy’s Los Alamos National Laboratory’s Liquid Scintillator Neutrino Detector. The MiniBooNE team is a collaboration of 77 researchers from 17 institutions in the United States and the United Kingdom working at Fermilab, with support from the Department of Energy and the National Science Foundation.

When the team announced its initial findings in 2007, Fleming, who serves as the team’s spokesperson, said, “You can’t see them, hear them or touch them, but neutrinos are everywhere. They pass right by us and right through us. They can travel the distance of 200 earths lined up before they ‘hit’ anything, and if you put your hand on the desktop and count to three, trillions will pass through it. And they are produced in many ways - by the sun or when stars explode, or by us using particle accelerators. So, it is important for us to understand their nature and how they behave.”

Fleming joined the Yale faculty as an assistant professor in 2004 and was named an associate professor in 2008. She earned her B.A. at Barnard College, Columbia University, and her M.A., M.Phil. and Ph.D. at Columbia. She was a Lederman Fellow at the Fermi National Accelerator Lab from 2002 until her Yale appointment.

At Yale, Fleming is the organizer of Girls’ Science Investigations, a University program designed to help middle-school girls experience the excitement of science and to provide them with female scientist role models. The program is funded by a 2007 CAREER Award Fleming received from the National Science Foundation, as well as by Yale’s Department of Physics and Office of New Haven and State Affairs.

Fleming also serves as a faculty adviser for the Undergraduate Conference for Women in Science.

The Yale scientist was named a Kavli Frontier Fellow by the National Academy of Sciences in 2007 and 2008. That same year, she received a Yale Junior Faculty Fellowship for her research and in 2001 earned the Luise Meyer-Schutzmeister Award from the Association of Women in Science.

Fleming is a member and co-founder of Young Particle Physicists.

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