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Department of Physics

The Cavendish Laboratory
 

Biography

Val Gibson is the Head of the High Energy Physics Research Group in the Cavendish. She holds a Special Honours BSc in Physics from the University of Sheffield (1983) and a DPhil in Experimental Particle Physics (1986), The Queen's College, Oxford. She was a Fellow in the Experimental Physics Division at CERN (1987-89) and came to Cambridge in 1989 as an SERC Advanced Fellow, held concurrently with the Stokes Senior Research Fellowship at Pembroke College (1989-1994). She was appointed as University Lecturer and Fellow of Trinity College in 1994, Reader in 2006, held a Royal Society Leverhulme Trust Senior Fellowship (2007-08) and became a Professor in 2009. Val was awarded an OBE in The Queen's 2021 New Years Honours List "For services to Science, Women in Science and to Public Engagement." 

She enjoys science communication and is Patron of the Gravity Fields Festival held in honour of Sir Isaac Newton. She is a champion of Women in Science and spearheaded the Cavendish Laboratory's success at achieving an Athena SWAN Gold award in 2014. Previously, she has been the School of Physical Sciences Equality & Diversity Champion and Chair of the Institute of Physics Juno Panel. She is currently the University's Gender Equality Champion (STEMM). More details about her Women in Science activities can be found at the following link:  http://www.hep.phy.cam.ac.uk/~gibson/Women%20in%20Science.htm

Research

My personal research interest is the search for new phenomena using particles containing heavy (bottom and charm) quarks. These are produced in copious amounts at the Large Hadron Collider and are detected by the LHCb experiment. The study of the production and decay of heavy quarks provides very precise measurements of the phenomenon called CP violation, which holds the key to our understanding of the matter-antimatter imbalance in the Universe. I have been the UK Spokesperson and PI for LHCb (2004-2008), representing 8 major institutes, and had the ultimate responsibility to deliver the UK contributions to the experiment and to ensure that the UK was at the forefront of the physics exploitation. I am currently the Chair of the LHCb Collaboration Board, the ultimate decision making boady for the experiment, with representatives from 78 institutes across the world.

I am also a core member of the Atom Interferometer Observatory and Network (AION) project that will enable searches for ultra-light dark matter and new fundamental interactions, and provide a pathway to detecting gravitational waves from astrophysical sources in the mid-frequency band (several mHz to a few Hz). 

Previously I have worked on: the muon scattering experiment (EMC), where I made accurate measurements of the newly-discovered “EMC effect”;  CP violation in the kaon system (NA31), where I made major contributions to the discovery of direct CP violation in the kaon system, and led the measurement of the CP-violating phases that set the world’s best limit for the invariance of CPT; and the OPAL experiment at the Large Electron-Positron (LEP) collider, where I played a major part in the silicon microvertex detector and B physics measurements.

Publications

Key publications: 

My publications list can be found here.

Subject: 
Professor of High Energy Physics
Fellow and Director of Studies at Trinity College
Professor Valerie  Gibson

Contact Details

Room 960 Rutherford Building
Cavendish Laboratory
JJ Thomson Avenue
Cambridge
CB3 0HE
+44 (0)1223 337373

Affiliations

Specialities: 
Person keywords: 
Astrophysics
High Energy Physics