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Rosi Reed portrait

Rosi Reed

Associate Professor

Lewis Lab 406

University of California, Davis Ph.D. in Physics, 2011 Dissertation: Upsilon production in Au+Au and p+p Collisions at √sNN = 200 GeV

San Jose State University B. Sc. in Physics, 2002

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Research Areas

Research Statement

Rosi Reed’s research is centered around studying one of the four fundamental forces of nature, the strong force, which is otherwise known as quantum-chromodynamics (QCD) via the collision of heavy ions, such as gold or lead, at nearly the speed of light. One of the most interesting things to have come out of this research is the formation of a new state of matter, called the quark gluon plasma (QGP), formed when the temperature of the system is above 2x1015 K. At this temperature the protons and neutrons melt into their constituent quarks and gluons. The QGP was given the label, "the perfect liquid", as it has the lowest viscosity over entropy ever measured, nearly at the theoretical minimum. 

Her research goal is to answer the fundamental questions:
* How does subatomic matter organize itself and what phenomena emerge?
* Are the fundamental interactions that are basic to the structure of matter fully understood? 

This research is currently being conducted at the Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider (RHIC), which is located at Brookhaven National Labs (BNL) on Long Island, New York. Rosi Reed belongs to two different collaborations at RHIC, the Solenoidal Tracker at RHIC (STAR), which is the only running experiment until 2023, and the sPHENIX experiment, which has built a next-generation detector at RHIC which will start taking data in 2023. The next generation collider, called the Electron Ion Collider (EIC) will be built in the RHIC ring starting in 2026. Rosi Reed belongs to the EPIC collaboration, which was formed around building the detector at the new Collider. 

Her research at Lehigh can be divided into two components: hardware development and data analysis. She has been involved in the development of two different detectors: the Event Plane Detector (EPD) for STAR and the sPHENIX Event Plane Detector (sEPD).  To answer fundamental questions about the nature of QCD she utilizes particle jets as probes to analyze the Quark Gluon Plasma (QGP). Particle jets are formed when a high momentum quark or gluon fragments into a column of particles, which hadronize and are measured by the detectors. When this parton travels through the QGP, it will lose energy to the medium in a process called jet quenching. The modification of the jets due to the medium depends on the details of the medium such as its temperature, the size of the fluctuations within it, and the geometry of the QGP droplet.   By comparison with models and data from proton-proton collisions, the properties of QCD can be understood.


Rosi Reed grew up in Connecticut and discovered physics at the age of 15, when she decided that she wanted to be a physics professor.  After graduating high-school, she decided to move across the country to attend San Jose State, where she received her bachelor's degree in physics and was a four-time collegiate national champion in Judo.  Before heading to graduate school, she spent three years working as an engineer for Litton Electron Devices, mostly on S-band klystrons, where she learned that she enjoyed designing and building elaborately complicated equipment.  After deciding to go back to school, while refreshing her basic physics knowledge, she worked at NASA Ames for six months, where she designed and built a vacuum system to simulate the atmospheric conditions of Mars.  Rosi Reed then attended UC Davis where she received my Ph.D in 2011 by measuring the Upsilon nuclear modification factor with the STAR experiment at the Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider.   She did my postdoctoral studies at Yale University, where she learned to love particle jets by measuring the nuclear modification factor of jets with the ALICE experiment at the Large Hadron Collider.  I was then an Assistant Research professor at Wayne State University in Detroit for a year, where I continued to study jets in heavy-ion collisions and returned her research sight back to the Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider.  She has been a professor at Lehigh University since 2015, earning tenure in 2020.  

Rosi Reed has been a co-author on over 200 papers, some select publications are:

Megan Conors, Christine Nattrass, Rosi Reed, Sevil Salur, “Jet measurements in heavy ion physics” Rev. Mod. Phys., 90:025005

J. Adam et al. “Measurement of jet suppression in central Pb-Pb collisions at √sNN  = 2.76 TeV” Phys. Lett. B746:1-14, 2015

J. Adams et al. “The STAR Event Plane Detector” Nucl. Instrum. Meth.A 968 (2020)

M. Shao et al. “Quality Assurance Test of Silicon Photomultipliers and Electronics Boars for STAR Event Plane Detector, arXiv:2011.11030 accepted for publication at JINST

S. Kagamaster, R. Reed, and M. Lisa, “Centrality determination with a forward detector in the RHIC Beam Energy Scan,” Phys. Rev. C 103 no. 4, (2021) 044902, arXiv:2009.01483 [nucl-ex]. 

Alex Schmah, Rosi Reed, Michael Lisa “An Event Plane Detector for STAR -- Construction Proposal 2016” arXiv:2002.09830

B. I. Abelev et al. ”Upsilon cross section in p+p collisions at √s = 200 GeV.” Phys. Rev.,D82:012004, 2010.

She has given over 65 talks on topics such as jet quenching in heavy-ion collisions, detector construction and design, nuclear fluctuations, heavy flavor and diversity in nuclear physics.  Rosi Reed has received an NSF CAREER award, an NSF MRI, and is currently a member of the DOE/NSF Nuclear Science Advisory Committee.


Physics 21 – Introductory Physics II – This course covers electrostatics, magnetostatics, DC circuits, Maxwell’s equations, waves, optics and has a brief introduction to modern physics. [Spring 2021, 2023] 

Physics 31 – Introduction to Modern Physics – This class covers the experimental basis and historical development of special relativity and quantum mechanics.  This format of this class involved problem solving both in and out of the lecture time, with the inclusion of results from groundbreaking research in relevant fields. [Fall 2019] 

Physics 70 - “Universe Quarks to Cosmos”. This class covers a historical perspective of astronomy, particle physics, and nuclear physics and how we learned what we know today. It also focused on inclusiveness, highlighting the many scientists who contributed who were often not represented in traditional courses. [Fall 2020] 

Physics 332 – High Energy Astrophysics – This course covers highly energetic processes in astrophysics such as supernovae, black hole mergers and the formation of neutron stars.  Since this is a field with a lot of current research, groundbreaking results are included in the course content, which changes each time it has been taught. [Fall 2016, 2018, 2022] 

Physics 364 – Nuclear and Elementary Particle Physics – This class covers the theoretical and experimental basis for the standard model of particle physics, which explains 3 of the 4 fundamental forces of nature.  The course focused on the modern interpretation of the theory, and covered such as-of-yet unanswered big questions such as why there is more matter than anti-matter in our universe.  Material from the Large Hadron Collider and the Relativistic Collider were included, as well as connections to astrophysics via big bang nucleosynthesis and the nuclear physics of stars. [Spring 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020]