Dr. Bhaskar Dutta, professor of physics and astronomy at Texas A&M University and director of the George P. and Cynthia Woods Mitchell Institute for Fundamental Physics and Astronomy, has been appointed as holder of the Mitchell-Heep Chair in High Energy Physics, effective May 1, 2019.
The $1 million chair was established within the Mitchell Institute in 2002 with matching $500,000 gifts from Cynthia and George P. Mitchell ’40 and the Herman F. Heep and Minnie Bell Heep Foundation. It previously has been held since its inception by Texas A&M physicist Dimitri Nanopoulos, who retired in December 2018.
Dutta, an expert in the field of theoretical high energy and neutrino physics, joined the Texas A&M Department of Physics and Astronomy in 2005 as an associate professor, earning promotion to full professor in 2009 and subsequent appointment as interim director of the Mitchell Institute in 2012. A world leader in the search for new fundamental particles and dark matter, he is considered one of the most prolific theorists of his generation, given his distinguished record of research in high energy physics, highly cited publications in top journals and many invited plenary talks in major international conferences. In addition, Dutta is an excellent classroom teacher, graduate student mentor and science outreach proponent, participating each year in the spring Texas A&M Physics and Engineering Festival and co-organizing the Mitchell Institute Physics Enhancement Program for high school physics teachers each summer since 2012.
“Appointment to an endowed chair is one of the highest honors that can be bestowed upon a faculty member at Texas A&M University,” said Dr. Valen E. Johnson, dean of the Texas A&M College of Science and holder of the Richard H. Harrison III/External Advisory and Development Council Endowed Dean’s Chair in Science. “Dr. Dutta is an ideal candidate for this chair, which he will utilize to continue his world-class research and to benefit students, postdoctoral researchers and faculty in the Department of Physics and Astronomy and across the Texas A&M campus and world.”
Dutta’s broad research program attracts continual funding through the U.S. Department of Energy’s theoretical physics program as well as the National Science Foundation and covers topics such as model building, cosmology, inflation, origin of dark matter, matter-antimatter asymmetry, neutrino physics, grand unification theory (GUT) models and collider physics. Within his department, Dutta has developed particularly strong collaborations with experimentalists as well as astrophysicists, regularly co-authoring papers published in peer-reviewed journals and multidisciplinary publications.
Dutta received his Ph.D. from Oklahoma State University in 1995 and completed postdoctoral study at the University of Oregon (1995-1998) and Texas A&M (1998-2002) prior to beginning his independent academic career as an assistant professor at the University of Regina in Canada (2002-2005). He was recognized with a Texas A&M Association of Former Students College-Level Distinguished Achievement Award in Teaching in 2012.
For more information about Dutta and his teaching, research and service-related activities and accomplishments, visit https://physics.tamu.edu/people/dutta/.
To learn more about high energy physics research at Texas A&M, go to https://physics.tamu.edu/research/high-energy-physics/.