Department of Physics

Brandon Eberly Ph.D.

Assistant Professor

Office Location

227 Science Building

Phone

207-780-4231 (main office)

Academic Degrees

  • Ph.D., University of Pittsburgh
  • B.S., Lebanon Valley College

Profile

Brandon Eberly grew up just outside of Reading, Pennsylvania, near Pennsylvania Dutch Country, where he learned the proper use of the word “ferhuddled” and developed a connoisseur’s palate for hard pretzels. He initially attended the Peabody Conservatory of Music in Baltimore to study trombone performance and music recording technology, then transferred to Lebanon Valley College in central Pennsylvania to study music and physics, graduating summa cum laude. He continued his physics studies at the University of Pittsburgh, where he worked for a few years as a teaching assistant and instructor, and obtained a Ph.D. in experimental particle physics in 2014.

After graduating, Brandon spent four years as a research associate the SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory in Menlo Park, California. While at SLAC, Brandon felt a strong desire to return to teaching. He taught as an adjunct professor at St. Mary’s College of California, then as a visiting professor at Davidson College in North Carolina, before joining the USM faculty in 2020.

When not teaching or engaged in research, Brandon spends as much time as he can with his family. He enjoys playing trombone, spending time outdoors, and playing older “retro” video games.

Research Interests

Particle physics addresses questions of fundamental importance that excite the imaginations of young children, seasoned scientists, and everyone in between: what are the fundamental constituents that make up our universe, and what are their properties? I study the neutrino, a fundamental particle that is the focus of a particularly active subfield of particle physics. Neutrinos are produced abundantly in nature (many trillions of solar neutrinos pass through your body each second) but interact with regular matter very rarely (a solar neutrino scatters with you once every few days; the rest pass through as though you were not there). For these reasons, neutrino detectors are huge and neutrino beams are intense.

I work on the MicroBooNE experiment, which is located at the Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory in the suburbs of Chicago. The MicroBooNE detector consists of a school-bus-sized cryostat filled with 170 tons of liquid argon. Inside the cryostat is a liquid argon time projection chamber, a novel detector technology that allows us to reconstruct the products of neutrino interactions with unprecedented spatial precision. I am interested in using MicroBooNE to study how neutrinos interact with atomic nuclei; in particular, I study interactions that produce particles called pions and interactions with protons and neutrons that momentarily “pair up” inside the nucleus. These sorts of interactions are not well understood, and this lack of knowledge hinders our ability to study the fundamental properties of neutrinos.

I am constantly seeking to involve undergraduate students in neutrino research in meaningful ways. Additionally, I am available to mentor students on research and independent study projects related to other fields of physics. Whether, you are interested in neutrinos or have your own topic or project that you are passionate about, please stop by to talk with me about it sometime!

Recent Publications

“Measurement of the Longitudinal Diffusion of Ionization Electrons in the MicroBooNE Detector”, P. Abratenko et al. [The MicroBooNE Collaboration], JINST 16, P09025 (2021).

“Cosmic Ray Background Rejection with Wire-Cell Lar TPC Event Reconstruction in the MicroBooNE Detector”, P. Abratenko et al. [The MicroBooNE Collaboration], Phys. Rev. Applied 15, 064071 (2021).

“Measurement of the Atmospheric Muon Rate with the MicroBooNE Liquid Argon TPC”, P. Abratenko et al. [The MicroBooNE Collaboration], JINST 16 P04004 (2021).

“Semantic segmentation with a sparse convolutional neural network for event reconstruction in MicroBooNE”, P. Abratenko et al. [The MicroBooNE Collaboration], Phys. Rev. D103 052012 (2021). 

“Neutrino Event Selection in the MicroBooNE Liquid Argon Time Projection Chamber using Wire-Cell 3D Imaging, Clustering, and Charge-Light Matching”, P. Abratenko et al. [The MicroBooNE Collaboration], JINST 16, P06043 (2021).

“Convolutional Neural Network for Multiple Particle Identification in the MicroBooNE Liquid Argon Time Projection Chamber”, P. Abratenko et al. [The MicroBooNE Collaboration], Phys. Rev. D103, 092003 (2021). 

“Measurement of differential cross sections for νμ-Ar charged-current interactions with protons and no pions in the final state with the MicroBooNE detector”, P. Abratenko et al. [The MicroBooNE Collaboration], Phys. Rev. D102, 112013 (2020).

“The continuous readout stream of the MicroBooNE liquid argon time projection chamber for detection of supernova burst neutrinos”, P. Abratenko et al. [The MicroBooNE Collaboration], JINST 16 P02008 (2021).

“Measurement of space charge effects in the MicroBooNE LArTPC using cosmic muons”, P. Abratenko et al. [The MicroBooNE Collaboration], JINST 15 P12037 (2020).

“First Measurement of Differential Charged Current Quasielasticlike νμ-Argon Scattering Cross Sections with the MicroBooNE Detector”, P. Abratenko et al. [The MicroBooNE Collaboration], Phys. Rev. Lett. 125, 201803 (2020).

Vertex-finding and reconstruction of contained two-track neutrino events in the MicroBooNE detector”, P. Abratenko et al. [The MicroBooNE Collaboration], JINST 16 P02017 (2021).