Meet Beatrice from TRIUMF

3rd April 2017
Beatrice Franke

My name is Beatrice, and I’m an experimental physicist in the field of high precision/low energy particle physics. Currently, I work at TRIUMF in of a small team of researchers who are taking part in one of the most fascinating pursuits in particle physics: the hunt for the electric dipole moment (EDM) of the neutron. This intriguing property of fundamental particles could help us to understand how our universe was created and why there is an asymmetry in the amount of matter and antimatter. Our TRIUMF team is currently building our very own ultracold neutron (UCN) facility that will enable us to trap slow neutrons and study this important phenomenon. This project is a Japanese-Canadian collaboration between KEK, U Osaka, RCNP, U Winnipeg, U Manitoba, TRIUMF, UBC, UNBC, and SFU.

Like many of the scientists on my team, I participated in many different ultracold neutron experiments throughout my university education. I studied Engineering Physics at the Technical Universtity of Munich, Germany, and in the course of both, my Bachelor’s and Master’s degree, I participated in UCN experiments at the Institute Laue-Langevin in Grenoble, France, and also at the FRM-II research reactor in Garching, Germany. I was later awarded my Ph. D. at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich, Switzerland, for my work on the search for the neutron electric dipole moment at the Paul Scherrer Institute in Villigen, Switzerland.

I also made a scientific excursion into the field of laser spectroscopy of muonic atoms during a two-year postdoctoral appointment at the Max Planck Institute for Quantum Optics in Garching, Germany. These experiments aim at shedding light on the Proton Radius Puzzle. Shifting the focus of my research enabled me to broaden my scientific horizons and equipped me with a completely new and complementary skill set. I would absolutely recommend that burgeoning scientists actively look for a possibility to change research fields at least once!

All of that said, I am thrilled to have the opportunity to return to UCN physics and soon resume the hunt for the neutron EDM at TRIUMF. As the team tasked with building and commissioning the new UCN facility at TRIUMF, our goal is to become the world-leading high-intensity source of ultracold neutrons. Ultimately, we want to improve the sensitivity for the neutron EDM to an unprecedented precision level of 10-27 ecm, and additionally establish a user facility which will attract world-class scientists and experiments to TRIUMF.

Beatrice Franke on Snowboard

When I’m not at the lab, you can very probably find me in the mountains. I love snow and try to get as many trips to ski resorts or backcountry tours as possible from the day the first flakes fall until late into the spring season. In summer, I try to prepare myself for the next winter season by exercising, taking dance classes, or hiking. When I need a recharge, I indulge myself in one of the plenty Asian cuisines present in Vancouver or just relax on the couch with my boyfriend, our two cats, and a movie.

I’ll be posting three more times on behalf of TRIUMF here at Interactions - look for more of my blog posts throughout the month of April!