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David E. Pellett

Professor of Physics

Office: 337 Physics
Telephone: (530) 752-1783
FAX: (530) 752-2431


As an experimentalist in elementary particle physics, I study the tiniest particles of matter. The focus is on understanding the most basic forces of nature. The field also has close links to other fundamental areas such as cosmology at one scale and condensed matter at another. I am also intrigued by the forefront electronic and computer technologies necessary to build the large and complex detectors for particle physics experiments.

I received my PhD at the University of Michigan in 1966 and have been at UC Davis since 1967. Since coming to UCD, I have worked on a variety of experiments at Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory, Brookhaven, Fermilab, the Stanford Linear Accelerator Center and CERN. My current work concerns existing and future hadron collider facilities: the CDF detector at the Fermilab Tevatron proton-antiproton collider and the CMS detector being built for the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) at CERN.

My immediate interest in CDF is in development of a new inner vertex detector layer using silicon strip detectors to provide better measurement of b particle decays. For an example of the power of vertex detection in probing new physics (CP violation in b decays), check out the Dec. 7, 1998 Physics News Update from the American Institute of Physics.

I am also working on the development of detectors that use silicon microchips to track particles. These are arrays of small, charge-sensitive diode "pixels" bonded to VLSI readout chips. Such devices are used to improve the detection and measurement of the decays of short-lived particles and to untangle the paths of tightly-bunched tracks in the cores of particle jets produced in high energy collisions. This technology will find application in the CMS vertex detector.

As a final note, here are references to two interesting talks from the centennial meeting of the American Physical Society. The first, by Leon Lederman, is on the history of experimental elementary particle physics. The second is on the quest for unification in theoretical elementary particle physics by Edward Witten. These are audio files with accompanying slides.


David E. Pellett
Physics Department
University of California, Davis
Davis, CA 95616

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