Department of Physics, Enrico Fermi Institute, and the College
Abigail Vieregg is interested in answering some of the most exciting
and fundamental questions about the nature of the universe at its
highest energies, through experimental work in particle astrophysics and cosmology. In particle astrophysics, her work is focused on searches for particles called neutrinos that come from the most energetic sources in the universe. These particles will help researchers determine the origin of the highest energy cosmic particles.
In cosmology, Vieregg works on a suite of telescopes at the South Pole
to help determine what happened during the first moments of time after the big bang. Inflation, the theory that the universe underwent violent, exponential expansion during the first moments of time, predicts a gravitational-wave background that would imprint a faint but unique signature in the polarization of the cosmic microwave background, relic radiation from the big bang. This program of telescopes is making precise measurements of the polarization of the cosmic microwave background, in hopes of seeing direct evidence for inflation for the first time.
Vieregg earned her PhD in physics from the University of California,
Los Angeles, as well as an AB in physics from Dartmouth College. She was awarded a National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) Earth and Space Sciences Fellowship. She was also a National Science Foundation Office of Polar Programs Postdoctoral Fellow at the Harvard- Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics.
Vieregg joined the University of Chicago faculty in 2013.