UNIVERSITY PARK, Pennsylvania — Stephanie Wissel, assistant professor of physics and astronomy and astrophysics at Penn State, has been honored with the Downsbrough Early Career Professorship in Physics. This chair was established in 2004 by George A. Downsbrough, a physicist whose extensive volunteer work at Penn State included the Armsby Committee, the Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee, and the Grand Destiny Campaign Committee of Eberly College of Science. Downsbrough was named an honorary alumnus of Penn State in 2003.
In his research, Wissel uses cosmic neutrinos to open a new window on the universe, informing both our understanding of astrophysics and fundamental physics at the highest energy scales. Wissel’s goal is to discover the first neutrinos at high energies, above 100 PeV. Wissel uses radio sensing techniques, which include the ANITA and PUEO experiments, using NASA’s long-duration balloons; the BEACON concept, using mountain radio-interferometers; and the ARA and RNO-G radio arrays, buried in ice in Antarctica and Greenland, respectively, which are expected to provide key technology demonstrations for a larger instrument, IceCube-Gen2’s radio array at the South Pole.
Wissel received an NSF CAREER Award, NSF’s most prestigious award to support early career faculty, in 2018. His research has been published in scientific journals such as Nature, The Astrophysical Journal, the American Journal of Physics, Astroparticle Physics and Physical Review Letters.
Prior to joining the faculty at Penn State, Wissel was an assistant professor of physics at California Polytechnic State University from 2015 to 2019. She was a postdoctoral fellow at the University of California, Los Angeles from 2012 to 2015 and at the Princeton Plasma Laboratory in Physics from 2010 to 2012. Wissel earned a PhD and MS in Physics from the University of Chicago in 2010 and 2005, respectively. She received a bachelor’s degree in physics from the University of Dallas in 2004.