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Elizabeth H. Simmons
Elizabeth H. Simmons, Ph.D.
Dean & University Distinguished Professor of Physics
Associate Provost

Departments: Administration and Physics
Address: E-27 Holmes
Phone: (517) 353-6486
Email: esimmons@msu.edu

Pronouns: she/her/hers

Background: After earning an A.B. in Physics from Harvard in 1985, Simmons spent a year as a Churchill Scholar at Cambridge, completing an M.Phil. in 1986. She earned her Ph.D. in Theoretical Particle Physics at Harvard in 1990 and was a postdoctoral fellow in Harvard's theory group until 1993. She joined the physics faculty of Boston University in 1993, and spent ten years there as an Assistant Professor and then an Associate Professor (with tenure). In the summer of 2003, she moved to Michigan State University.

She is currently a University Distinguished Professor in the Department of Physics and Astronomy, the Dean of Lyman Briggs College, and Associate Provost for Faculty and Academic Staff Development. She enjoys working with the interdisciplinary faculty in Lyman Briggs to bring a strong understanding of the relationships between science, technology, and society to LBC students. In her Associate Provost's role, she is energized by the challenge of building the new Academic Advancement Network to support professional development for faculty and specialists. At the same, she is very pleased to be a member of the lively research atmosphere in the High-Energy Particle Physics Group.

Degrees
A.B. Magna Cum Laude, Physics, Harvard University, 1985
M. Phil., Physics, University of Cambridge, 1986
A.M., Physics, Harvard University, 1987
Ph.D., Physics, Harvard University, 1990

Teaching
Simmons enjoys teaching physics courses at all levels, from introductory courses for freshmen to graduate courses. Her most recent course has been PHY 415/810, Methods of Theoretical Physics, a class primarily aimed at junior level physics majors and entering graduate students.

Courses
PHY 415/810 aims to teach a variety of mathematical methods essential for technical proficiency in advanced undergraduate physics, engineering, or other quantitative science courses. The class focuses on developing both an understanding of useful techniques and skill in their application. Topics include Fourier series, eigenvector analysis, partial differential equations, boundary value problems, and complex analysis; connections are made with topics in electromagnetism, classical mechanics, themodynamics, and quantum mechanics.

Simmons and co-instructor R.S. Chivukula created this course to meet the needs of physics and astronomy majors. They designed it to incorporate active and cooperative learning techniques such as weekly team-based homework workshops, group work on applications of lecture material, and analysis of demonstrations. Pedagogical techniques are updated annually based on insights from professional development seminars. Since 2007, students have created posters on scientific applications of mathematics; poster preparation involves peer critique and assessment via a standard rubric. Since 2008, written objectives for each class session (readings, concepts, skills) are provided in advance. Course resources moved online in 2009. The project rubric and revision process were honed in 2010 and workshop expectations were clarified. In 2011, concept mapping and assigned longitudinal teams were introduced. During 2012 and 2013, in-class exercises emphasizing identification of the appropriate approach to a problem were added, along with additional guidance on concept mapping. In 2014 and 2015, we adapted the course to serve dual graduate and undergraduate audiences; principle enhancements were online videos reviewing introductory or advanced material and case studies for graduate and honors students.

Scholarship
Simmons is a particle theorist, whose research focuses on the origins of the masses of the elementary subatomic particles.

The Standard Model of particle physics is consistent with data gathered at energies accessible to current experiments, but cannot explain phenomena at the higher energies characteristic of earlier eras in our universe. There must be physics beyond the Standard Model.

Simmons studies how new physics impacts the masses of the elementary particles, especially the heaviest matter particle, the top quark. She was named a Fellow of the American Physical Society for her achievements in identifying where data anomalies hint at new symmetry structures, developing testable theories, proposing fresh tests of existing models, and finding novel ways to extract meaning from data.

Some of her work has shown that many new-physics models cannot explain the top quark’s large mass without incurring side effects forbidden by the data. This channeled model-building toward theories with “custodial” symmetry structures mitigating such issues.

She has also found that the top quark could play a special role in the origin of all particle masses. Extending the symmetry structure of the Standard Model to include new weak- or strong-nuclear properties for the top quark allows top-quark bound states or “top partner” states to drive the “flavor symmetry breaking” that gives different masses to otherwise similar matter particles. It also offers the top quark a role in the “electroweak symmetry breaking” process that separates electromagnetism from the weak-nuclear force and makes the very existence of mass possible.

Her work has also demonstrated the impacts of expanding the strong-force symmetries of the Standard model. She has delineated the properties of new heavy “coloron” resonances present in these extended theories, including how they are constrained by existing data and how they can manifest in future experiments. Recently, she proposed new ways of analyzing high-energy particle collider data to reveal the symmetry properties of such resonances upon discovery.

Articles
    2012 `Nominating Your Evaluators.' Inside Higher Ed, Career Advice column, 6 January 2012. Also available online at http://tinyurl.com/8yuqmt4 .
    2012 `Discovering Strong Top Dynamics at the LHC,' with R.S. Chivukula, B. Coleppa, P. Ittisamai, H.E. Logan, A. Martin, and J. Ren. Physical Review D86: 095017, 2012. (25 pages).
    2012 `Discovering Higgsless Electroweak Symmetry Breaking at LHC-8,' with C. Du, H.-J. He, Y.- P. Kuang, B. Zhang, N.D. Christensen, and R.S. Chivukula. Physical Review D86: 095011, 2012. (11 pages).
    2012 `Probing Color Octet Couplings at the Large Hadron Collider,' with A. Atre, R.S. Chivukula, P. Ittisamai, and J.-H. Yu. Physical Review D86: 054003, 2012. (19 pages).
    2012 `Production of Massive Color-Octet Vector Bosons at Next to Leading Order,' with R.S. Chivukula, A. Farzinnia, and R. Foadi. Physical Review D85: 054005, 2012. (21 pages).
    2012 `The Flavor Structure of the Three-Site Higgsless Model,' with T. Abe, R.S. Chivukula, and M. Tanabashi. Physical Review D85: 035015, 2012. (23 pages).
    2012 `Leveraging Your Annual Evaluation.' Inside Higher Ed, Career Advice: Mend the Gap, 3 February 2012. Also available online at http://tinyurl.com/7f4uosx .
    2012 `Evaluating Colleagues: Time Well Spent.' Inside Higher Ed, Career Advice: Mend the Gap, 10 February 2012. Also available online at http://tinyurl.com/bu2albs .
    2012 `Rewarding Teaching Innovation.' Inside Higher Ed, Career Advice: Mend the Gap, 18 April 2012. Also available online at http://tinyurl.com/bpk3fta .
    2012 `How to Ask.' Inside Higher Ed, Career Advice: Mend the Gap, 6 June 2012. Also available online at http://tinyurl.com/csop68a .
    2012 `Dual-Career Academics: The Right Start.' Inside Higher Ed, Career Advice: Mend the Gap, 27 July 2012. Also available online at http://tinyurl.com/d4pb47h
    2012 `Counter-O er Con dential.' Inside Higher Ed, Career Advice: Mend the Gap, 21 September 2012. Also available online at http://tinyurl.com/co8oa87 .
    2012 `The Greatest Course You'll Ever Teach.' Inside Higher Ed, Career Advice: Mend the Gap, 30 November 2012. Also available online at http://tinyurl.com/bnlmmrv
    2011 `The Fit Puzzle.' Inside Higher Ed, Career Advice column, 23 November 2011. Also available online at http://tinyurl.com/7u7jv2g .
    2011 `The Fund-Raiser is Your Friend.' Inside Higher Ed, Career Advice column, 12 October 2011. Also available online at http://tinyurl.com/6docgmz .
    2011 `Academic Finance Demysti ed.' Inside Higher Ed, Career Advice column, 16 September 2011. Also available online at http://tinyurl.com/3mqw37u .
    2011 ‘Patterns of Custodial Isospin Violation from a Composite Top,’ Phys. Rev. D D84: 035026
    2011 ‘Top-Higgs and Top-Pion Phenomenology in the Top Triangle Moose Model,’ Phys. Rev. D83: 055013
    2011 `LHC Limits on the Top-Higgs in Models with Strong Top-Quark Dynamics,' with R.S. Chivukula, B. Coleppa, H. Logan, and A. Martin. Physical Review D84: 095022, 2011. (9 pages).
    2011 `Technipion Limits from LHC Higgs Searches,' with R.S. Chivukula, Pawin Ittisamai, and Jing Ren. Physical Review D84:115025, 2011. (15 pages).
    2010 ‘The Limits of Custodial Symmetry,’ with R.S. Chivukula, S. DiChiara, and R. Foadi. Physical Review D80 095001 (2009); Erratum-ibid D81 059902 (2010). (19 pages).
    2010 ‘Custodial Isospin violation in the Lee-Wick Standard Model,’ with R.S. Chivukula, A. Farzin- nia, and R. Foadi. Physical Review D81 095015 (2010). (12 pages).
    2010 ‘Condensate Enhancement and D-MesonMixing in Technicolor Theories,’ with R.S. Chivukula. Physical Review D82 033014 (2010). (6 pages).
    2010 ‘Global Symmetries and Renormalizability in Lee-Wick Theories,’ with R.S. Chivukula, A. Farzin- nia, and R. Foadi. Physical Review D82 035015 (2010). (17 pages)
    2010 ‘Axigluons cannot explain the observed top-quark forward-backward asymmetry,’ with R.S. Chivukula and C.-P. Yuan. Physical Review D82 094009 (2010). (12 pages).
    2009 ‘Women in Physics in the United States: Reporting on the Past and Looking at the Future,’ with Yevgenia V. Zastavker et al.. CSWP Gazette: A Newsletter of the Committee on the Status of Women in Physics of the American Physical Society. 28:(1):1, 2009. 3 pages.
    2009 ‘The Third International Conference on Women in Physics; Lessons Learned’, with Yevgenia V. Zastavker. CSWP Gazette: A Newsletter of the Committee on the Status of Women in Physics of the American Physical Society.28:(1):5, 2009. 3 pages.
    2009 ‘Z ! b¯b and Chiral Currents in Higgsless Models,’ with T. Abe, R.S. Chivukula, N.D. Chris- tensen, K. Hsieh, S. Matsuzaki, and M. Tanabashi. Physical Review D79 075916, 2009. (19 pages).
    2009 ‘The Top Triangle Moose: Combining Higgsless and Topcolor Mechanisms for Mass Genera- tion,’ with R.S. Chivukula, N.D. Christensen, and B. Coleppa. Physical Review D80 035011, 2009. (20 pages).
    2009 ‘WLWL Scattering in HiggslessModels: Identifying Better Effective Theories,’ with A.S. Belyaev, R.S. Chivukula, N.D. Christensen, H.-J. He, M. Kurachi, and M. Tanabashi. Physical Review D80 055052 (2009). (35 pages).
    2009 ‘The Limits of Custodial Symmetry,’ with R.S. Chivukula, S. DiChiara, and R. Foadi. Physical Review D80 095001 (2009); Erratum-ibid D81 059902 (2010). (19 pages).
    2008 ‘CERN LHC Signatures of New Gauge bosons in Minimal Higgsless Model,’ with H.-J. He, Y.- P. Kuang, Y.-H. Hui, B. Zhang, A. Belyaev, R.S. Chivukula, N.D. Christensen, and A. Pukhov. Physical Review D78 031701, 2008 (6 pages).
    2008 ‘Hypercharge-Universal Topcolor,’ with F. Braam,M. Flossdorf, R.S. Chivukula, and S. DiChiara. Physical Review D77 055005, 2008. (21 pages).
    2008 ‘Low-energy Effective theory, Unitarity, and Non-Decoupling Behavior in a Model with Heavy Higgs-Triplet Fields,’ with R.S. Chivukula and N. D. Christensen. Physical Review D77 035001, 2008 (11 pages).
    2008 ‘General sum Rules for WW Scattering in Higgsless Models: Equivalence Theorem and Decon- struction Identities,’ with R.S. Chivukula, H.-J. He., M. Kurachi, and M. Tanabashi. Physical Review D78 095003, 2008 (36 pages).
    2008 ‘Women in Physics in the United States,’ with Yevgenia V. Zastavker et al.. Proceedings of the Third IUPAP International Conference on Women in Physics (ICWIP08). Seoul, Korea; October, 2008. 2 pages.
    2007 ‘One-Loop Corrections to the S and T Parameters in a Three Site Higgsless Model,’ with R.S. Chivukula and S. Matsuzaki. Physical Review D75 073002, 2007 (34 pages).
    2007 ‘Deconstruction and Elastic [pi pi] Scattering in Higgsless Models,’ with R.S. Chivukula, H.-J. He., M. Kurachi, and M. Tanabashi. Physical Review D75 035005, 2007 (33 pages).
    2007 ‘The Three Site Model at One Loop,’ with R.S. Chivukula, S. Matsuzaki, and M. Tanabashi. Physical Review D75 075012, 2007. (40 pages).
    2007 ‘Bounds on the Scale of Fermion Mass Generation in Higgsless Models,’ with R.S. Chivukula, N.D. Christensen, and B. Coleppa. Physical Review D75 073018, 2007. (11 pages).
    2006 ‘A Three Site Higgsless Model,’ with R.S. Chivukula, B. Coleppa, S. Di Chiara, H.-J. He., M. Kurachi, and M. Tanabashi. Physical Review D74 075011, 2006. (30 pages).
    2005 ‘How to Popularize Particle Physics. Proceedings of the 2004 Meeting of the Division of Parti- cles and Fields of the American Physical Society (Riverside, CA, 27-31 August, 2004). Edited by J. Ellison. International Journal of Modern PhysicsA20: 2943-2950 (2005).
    2005 ‘How to Popularize Physics. Physics Today. January 2005. (6 pages).
    2005 ‘Electroweak Corrections and Unitarity in Linear Moose Models,’ with R.S. Chivukula, H.- J. He., M. Kurachi, and M. Tanabashi. Physical Review D71 035007, 2005. (25 pages).
    2005 ‘Deconstructed Higgsless Models with One-Site Delocalization,’ with R.S. Chivukula, H.- J. He., M. Kurachi, and M. Tanabashi. Physical ReviewD71 115001, 2005 (23 pages).
    2005 ‘Ideal Fermion Delocalization in HiggslessModels,’ with R.S. Chivukula, H.-J. He.,M. Kurachi, and M. Tanabashi. Physical Review D72 015008, 2005 (21 pages).
    2005 The Meaning of Higgs: +- and at the Tevatron and the LHC,’ with A. Belyaev, A. Blum, and R.S. Chivukula. Physical ReviewD72 055022, 2005 (31 pages).
    2005 ’Multi-Gauge-Boson Vertices and Chiral Lagrangian Parameters in Higgsless Models with Ideal Fermion Delocalization,’ with R.S. Chivukula, H.-J. He., M. Kurachi, and M. Tanabashi. Physical Review D72 075012, 2005 (26 pages).
    2005 ’Ideal Fermion Delocalization in Five Dimensional Gauge Theories,’ with R.S. Chivukula, H.-J. He., M. Kurachi, and M. Tanabashi. Physical Review D72 095013, 2005 (31 pages).
Grants
  •  Dow Foundation Herbert and Grace Research Grant Launching, Accelerating, and Multiplying STEM Students for Michigan: The Michigan State University STEM Success Program [2014 - 2017 ] $2,500,000
  •  National Science Foundation,(R. Sekhar Chivukula, Elizabeth Simmons), Electroweak Symmetry Breaking and Physics Beyond the Standard Model [2014 - 2016 ] $170,000
  •  National Science Foundation Research Grant,(Simmons, Chivukula), QCD, Electroweak Symmetry Breaking and Physics Beyond the Standard Model [2010 - 2015 ] $1,000,000
  •  Radcliffe Institute for Advance Study Exploratory Seminar Grant Higgsless Models of Dynamical Symmetry Breaking [2007 ] $30,000
  •  National Science Foundation CCLI Grant,(PI: R. Sweeder, Co-PIs: D. Luckie, E.H. Simmons), BRAID: Bridging the Disciplines with Authentic Inquiry and Discourse [2007 - 2011 ] $149,904
  •  National Science Foundation Research,(Elizabeth H. Simmons), Workshop on Education and Outreach at the Aspen Center for Physics, Aspen, CO [2004 ] $40,000
  •  National Science Foundation,(PI: R.S. Chivukula, Co-PI: E.H. Simmons), Electroweak Symmetry Breaking Beyond the Standard Model [2004 - 2010 ] $720,000
  •  Department of Energy Research Grant,(Elizabeth H. Simmons, and 7 others), Task E: Theoretical Particle Physics [2001 - 2004 ] $6,030,000

Engagement
Part of Simmons’s mission as an educator is to encourage more students (especially from groups now under-represented in physics) to consider studies and careers in the physical sciences. Through the QUEST project (http://www.pa.msu.edu/~sekhar/quest/index.php) she works with undergraduate Professorial Assistants and collaborator R. Sekhar Chivukula to create materials and hands-on experiments for use in exploring subatomic physics to with K-12 students, teachers, and the general public.

Selected Activities:
Girls Math-Science Conference, East Lansing
Spartan Science Day at Lyman Briggs College
Grandparents University at MSU
Advisory Board, Quarknet National Outreach Program
Board of Trustees, Summer Science Program, Inc.
See also http://pa.msu.edu/hep/hept/outreach.php

Honors
    2012 -American Physical Society CSWP Woman Physicist of the Month (February 2012)
    2012 -Women's Center of Greater Lansing Tribute to Women Award
    2011 -U.S. Delegate to the 4th International Conference on Women in Physics, South Africa
    2011 -Member, Phi Kappa Phi (elected 2011)
    2011 -Columnist for Inside Higher Ed ("Mend the Gap", since fall 2011)
    2011 -Fellow, American Association for the Advancement of Science (elected November 2011).
    2009 -Member, Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton, NJ
    2008 -U.S. Delegate to the 3rd International Conference on Women in Physics, South Korea
    2008 -Outstanding Referee, American Physical Society
    2006 -Advanced Visiting Scholar, Tsinghua University, Beijing, China
    2005 -ACE Michigan Distinguished Women in Higher Education Leadership Award
    2004 -CIC Academic Leadership Program Fellow
    2002 -Fellow, American Physical Society
    1994 -Advisory Board Member and Officer, Aspen Center for Physics (continuing role till present)