Texas A&M University's David Toback recently was elected to his third consecutive two-year term as co-spokesperson for the CDF collaboration at the U.S. Department of Energy's Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory. (Credit: Fermilab.)


Texas A&M University physicist Dr. David Toback has been elected to his third consecutive two-year term as co-spokesperson for the CDF collaboration at the U.S. Department of Energy's Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory (Fermilab), effective June 1, 2018.

Toback, a high-energy physics expert and veteran researcher in several related international collaborations, joined the Texas A&M Department of Physics and Astronomy in 2000 and is a member of the George P. and Cynthia Woods Mitchell Institute for Fundamental Physics and Astronomy. Since June 1, 2014, he has served as co-spokesperson and overall physics coordinator for the Collider Detector at Fermilab collaboration, which he began working with in 1991 as a graduate student at the University of Chicago. In January, he also was elected to the Cryogenic Dark Matter Search (CDMS) Experiment Executive Committee.

In the past, Toback has served as co-convener of CDF's Top + Beyond the Standard Model Group and also guided the Supersymmetry Group -- a leading candidate to explain dark matter and one focus of Toback's study. In 2015, he was elected as a fellow of the American Physical Society on the basis of his CDF experiment leadership and pioneering work on related searches for new particles.

"We congratulate David for this excellent result and thank him for accepting to serve," said former CDF Co-Spokesperson Luciano Ristori, on behalf of the election committee. "We also want to thank all the people who took the time to vote and note that this excellent turnout shows that CDF is still a large community of people who still care about the completion of our physics program."

Although the CDF experiment representing 63 institutions in 15 countries is no longer taking data, Toback says its impact lives on in its analysis, including the collaboration's landmark 700th paper published last year in Physical Review D and shedding new light on the production rate of charm quarks. The collaboration maintains a 400-person active author list.

"I am grateful to the Texas A&M Department of Physics and Astronomy and the Mitchell Institute for the continued opportunity to serve the CDF collaboration," Toback said. "It's time to finish the job we started and publish our last papers.

"My hope is that this is the last election for CDF. We have joked that since we soon won't need leadership anymore but still will need people who can speak for the collaboration results, they may just make me Benevolent Dictator For Life."

Fermilab's Tevatron and CERN's Large Hadron Collider (LHC) are the past and current record holders, respectively, for the most powerful particle collider on Earth. After 26 years of colliding particles, the Tevatron shut down on September 29, 2011, with the completion of the LHC. However, because it observed collisons between protons and antiprotons via its two detectors -- the three-story, 6,000-ton CDF, along with its companion DZero -- Toback notes that the Tevatron produced fundamental results that can neither be achieved nor replicated at the LHC.

Texas A&M's history is more extensive than Toback's with the CDF experiment, given that it was co-founded in 1980 in part by Texas A&M physicists Peter McIntyre and Robert Webb. Texas A&M has had a continuous presence in the collaboration since its inception, including four additional physicists -- Toback, Ricardo Eusebi, Teruki Kamon and Alexei Safonov -- who either were students or postdoctoral researchers within it and are now among its principal investigators. Kamon produced the collaboration's fourth Ph.D. thesis (there are 638 to date), followed by Toback (159th, 1997), Safonov (242nd, 2001) and Eusebi (345th, 2005). All four played lead roles in Tevatron Run II, with Toback leading the team that built the timing system for the CDF electromagnetic calorimeter.

In addition to faculty contributions, Toback notes that 11 Texas A&M students have earned Ph.D.s based on CDF-related work: Ziqing Hong (Toback, 2015); Jonathan Asaadi (Toback, 2012), Adam Aurisano (Toback, 2012); Andrey Elagin (Safonov, 2011); Eunsin Lee (Toback, 2010); Vadim Khotilovich (Safonov and Kamon, 2008); Peter Wagner (Toback, 2007); Vyachelav Krutelyov (Kamon, 2005); James Done (Kamon, 1999); Louis Keeble (McIntyre, 1992) and Timothy Hessing (Webb, 1990). Wagner's was recognized as the 2007 Universities Research Association's Graduate Thesis of the Year. Many more Texas A&M students achieved master's degrees and/or did honors undergraduate thesis-related work with CDF. In addition, many within this collective CDF-inspired whole have gone on to faculty positions, including at Texas A&M and other prestigious research universities worldwide.

The collaboration's crowning achievements include discovery of the top quark in 1995 and detection of the first substantive evidence of the Higgs boson prior to the Large Hadron Collider's 2012 full discovery that collectively resulted in Peter Higgs' and Francois Englert's subsequent 2013 Nobel Prize in Physics for theoretically predicting the elusive particle's existence 50 years ago.

To learn more about CDF, visit http://www-cdf.fnal.gov/collaboration/.

For more information on Texas A&M Collider Physics, go to http://collider.physics.tamu.edu/.

For more on Toback's broader research, visit http://tobackgroup.physics.tamu.edu/.

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Contact: Shana K. Hutchins, (979) 862-1237 or shutchins@science.tamu.edu or David Toback, (979) 845-7717 or toback@tamu.edu

Hutchins Shana

  • Dr. David Toback

  • Toback, offering career guidance and inspiration to a past group of Pearson Mechanics Scholars. A decorated educator and science communicator, he is a two-time Thaman Professor in Undergraduate Teaching Excellence (2008-11, 2012-15) and author of the textbook "Big Bang, Black Holes, No Math," the basis for his popular undergraduate course offered by the Department of Physics and Astronomy.

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