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Port Jefferson physicist receives award

Ruth Van de Water, 33, of Port Jefferson

Ruth Van de Water, 33, of Port Jefferson was named a finalist in the postdoctoral category of the New York Academy of Sciences’ Blavatnik Awards for Young Scientists. Photo Credit: Handout

For her work in advancing particle physics, a Brookhaven National Laboratory assistant physicist has been honored in a prestigious young scientists competition.

Ruth Van de Water, 33, of Port Jefferson, was named a finalist in the postdoctoral category of the New York Academy of Sciences’ Blavatnik Awards for Young Scientists.

She won $5,000 and a medal for being one of 13 finalists in the competition at an awards ceremony last month.

“I was surprised and honored to receive this recognition for my work,” Van de Water said in a news release. “The Standard Model of particle physics was established more than 30 years ago, and it has been remarkably successful in describing experimental observations of the elementary particles and their interactions. But the theory does not explain everything that we see, such as dark matter, dark energy, or neutrino masses. So now experimentalists, as well as theorists like myself, are looking for ‘new physics’ to explain these phenomena.”

She continued, “To do so, we need equally precise numerical computations of the theoretical predictions to compare with the precise experimental measurements. I perform these numerical computations.”

Part of her research included work on Brookhaven’s famous supercomputer, New York Blue.

The Blavatnik awards celebrate accomplishments of young scientists and engineers in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut.

Van de Water earned a bachelor's in physics from the College of William and Mary in 2000, and a doctorate in physics from the University of Washington, Seattle, in 2005. She joined Brookhaven Lab this year.

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