Professor Daniela Bortoletto has been awarded honorary fellowship of the Institute of Physics in recognition of her significant contributions to particle physics, her advisory role in the UK and internationally and founding the Conference for Undergraduate Women in Physics series (CUWiP UK). Honorary fellowship is the highest accolade presented by the IOP it reflects an individual’s exceptional services to physics.
Professor Bortoletto has contributed to significant particle physics discoveries and has developed the precision scientific instruments that enabled them. She started working on Higgs physics after participating in the top quark discovery with the CDF experiment at Fermilab. As a member of CMS at the LHC, she contributed to discovering the Higgs boson in the decay channel with electrons and muons. She also searched for higher-mass Higgs bosons and set the first bounds on the Higgs boson width. In 2013, she joined the University of Oxford and the ATLAS collaboration. Her group made significant contributions to understanding the Yukawa interactions by playing an essential role in discovering the Higgs boson decay to a pair of beauty quarks and setting the best limits on the coupling of the Higgs boson to the charm quark.
Professor Bortoletto has had a significant role in designing, building, and operating silicon detectors, including CDF SVX II and the CMS Pixel detector. She is currently co-leading the UK module production for the ATLAS pixel detector HL-LHC upgrade, constructing ultralight detectors for the Mu3e experiment, and developing novel silicon detectors for experiments at future colliders.
She has been an outstanding leader in organising the development of detectors for the next generation of particle physics experiments as the deputy scientific coordinator of the EU research and innovation programme AIDA-2020 (2017-2020); she is continuing in this role in AIDAinnova (2021-2025), a consortium including 42 institutions from 15 countries receiving €10M from the EU.
Professor Bortoletto has been a member of many advisory panels to UK and US funding agencies, laboratories, and experiments, including the US Particle Physics Projects Prioritization Panel (P5), the UK STFC Technology and Accelerator Advisory Board, and the Fermilab Program Advisory Committee.
Professor Bortoletto has also made significant contributions to gender equality in physics as lead organiser of the Conference for the UK Undergraduate Women in Physics (2015-2019). Since 2018, Professor Bortoletto has worked with IOP to make CUWiP UK a national event and she chairs the IOP committee that selects the location of the conference and advises interested universities on the organisation of the event.
'I am honoured and delighted to receive the award,' comments Professor Bortoletto. 'Particle physics is a highly international and collaborative field. I am incredibly proud of the results achieved with the students and the postdocs working in my group and my collaborators. I am amazed at how much more we know about the Higgs boson now and pixel detectors' role in achieving these beautiful measurements.
'The award also brings deserved attention to CUWiP and CUWiP UK. Equality and diversity remain big issues in physics – and not just in the UK. We want our science to be as diverse as our population and gender equality is one step towards achieving this.'
‘This is a wonderful achievement and thoroughly deserved,’ comments Professor Shipsey, head of the Department of Physics. ‘Particle physics as a discipline is richer, fairer and more unified as a result of her extraordinary and tireless work and the future is incredibly bright – and exciting.’
Congratulating this year’s new Honorary Fellows, IOP President, Professor Sheila Rowan, said: ‘Our Honorary Fellows represent an extraordinary group of physicists who have individually and collectively advanced our field. Each of them has made a significant positive difference to our understanding of, and pursuit of progress in, physics, and represents an example of what we as a community can achieve. On behalf of the Institute of Physics, I warmly congratulate all of them.’