Steven M. Ritz

Professor of Physics and SCIPP Director, University of California, Santa Cruz

Steven M. Ritz is a Professor of Physics at the University of California Santa Cruz and is the Director of the Santa Cruz Institute for Particle Physics (SCIPP).

Ritz has done accelerator-based experiments at most of the world's leading laboratories, including DESY, CERN, Fermilab, and SLAC. As a graduate student, he worked on e+e- experiments, developing techniques to search for charged Higgs bosons and other hypothesized particles that decay to hadronic jets. During this period, he also co-authored a number of early theoretical papers on particle signatures of dark matter. As a post-doc and faculty member at Columbia, he worked on the ZEUS experiment at the HERA electron-proton collider. In addition to leading roles in the development of the digital electronics and front-end processing for the calorimeter readout and other hardware contributions, he worked on many physics topics, including the analysis of the first charged-current events at very high Q2 in the search for leptoquarks. Since 1996, he has been very active in the Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope (nee GLAST), which has made significant discoveries in a wide variety of topics ranging from cosmic particle accelerators such as pulsars and supermassive black hole systems to searches for signals of dark matter and tests of fundamental physics. He was the Project Scientist for the Fermi mission from 2003 through most of the first year of science operations, and in 2009 he moved from NASA Goddard Space Flight Center to UCSC. He continued to play various leadership roles in Fermi, including LAT Collaboration Deputy PI, until he took on the role of LSST Camera Project Scientist in 2013.

His current interests include dark energy studies using weak lensing and searches for signatures of dark matter.

In his spare time, he has also been involved in several aspects of science policy, including most recently serving as chair of the Particle Physics Project Prioritization Panel (P5).

Ritz is a fellow of the American Physical Society and a recipient of the NASA Outstanding Leadership Medal. He was a Sloan Foundation Fellow in Physics, and he also received the 1981 Bertman Prize in Physics at Wesleyan University, where he double majored in physics and in music. In 2012, he received a UCSC Excellence in Teaching Award.

Steven M. Ritz