Dr. Pauline Gagnon
Retired Senior Research Scientist, Indiana University
The particle physicist
A native of Chicoutimi, Québec, Pauline Gagnon obtained a degree in physics from the Université du Québec à Montréal in 1978 and taught physics in college for six years. She then returned to school and completed a PhD in particle physics at the University of California Santa Cruz in 1993. Following that, she continued her research at CERN, the European Laboratory for Particle Physics near Geneva, where she participated in the construction and operation of the ATLAS detector, thus contributing to the discovery of the Higgs boson particle. After 16 years in research, she became a science communicator for CERN. For this outreach work, she was named Radio-Canada/La Presse “Personality of the Week” in 2012. She left CERN in 2014 and published a layman’s guide to particle physics entitled What does a Higgs boson eat during the winter… and other essential details. The book was translated from French into English, Farsi, Chinese, Turkish and German. Over the last six years, she has given more than 100 public lectures in 13 countries in Europe, Africa and North America. She is committed to promoting diversity in science and popularizing the story of Mileva Maric Einstein.