Helen Caines

Helen Caines's picture
Horace D. Taft (B.A. 1949) Professor of Physics
Wright Lab-W 306
Research Areas: 
Nuclear Physics
Research Type: 
Current Projects: 


Biographical Sketch: 

Helen’s research is concentrated on understanding the behavior of nuclear matter under extremes of temperature and density. Theoretical calculations indicate that a Quark Gluon Plasma (QGP), a deconfined state of quarks and gluons, exists when energy densities of more than 6 times nuclear matter are reached. Such extreme conditions can be created in the laboratory when ultra-relativistic heavy ions are collided. Helen is therefore a collaborator on the STAR experiment based at the Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider (RHIC) at Brookhaven Laboratory on Long Island in New York and on the ALICE experiment at the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) at CERN in Geneva, Switzerland. The formation of a QGP has been confirmed by the RHIC collaborations. Helen is now focused on measuring the high momentum particles produced in the collisions, and how they interact with the QGP. The results of these studies will teach us more about the properties of this new state of matter.

Teaching Interests: 

Being Human in STEM

Ph.D., University of Birmingham, 1996
Honors & Awards: 
2019 — Fellow of the American Physical Society (APS)
2012 — APS CSWP Woman Physicist of the Month (Jan)
2008 — Elected Fellow of the Institute of Physics, UK
2005 — “Enseignant Invite” (Invited Professor) Fellowship, Strasbourg University, France
2003 — Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council Advanced Research Fellowship, UK
Dissertation Title: 
A Study of Strangeness Production in Pb-Pb Collisions at 158 GeV/nucleon