MacArthur Fellows Program

Helen T. Edwards

Physicist | Class of 1988

Batavia, Illinois
52 at time of award
June 21, 2016
Area of Focus

Helen Edwards is a high-energy physicist and a leader in the development of superconducting accelerators.

Edwards combines her mastery of physics with engineering talents and leadership skills to design and build instruments that high energy physicists use to reveal the mysteries of subatomic particles.  She has contributed significantly to several generations of particle accelerators.  Edwards co-lead the design, development, installation of the first superconducting proton accelerator, the Tevatron; using superconducting magnets maximizes the transfer of energy to the accelerated particle, which generates previously unattainable speeds. 

She was a research associate at the Cornell University Laboratory for Nuclear Studies (1966-70) and head of the Superconducting Supercollider Laboratory (1989-92).  Edwards joined the Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory in 1970 as head of the Booster Group, was head of its Accelerator Division (1987-91), and since 1992 has been a guest scientist there.  Edwards maintains a position at Deutsches Elektronen Synchrotron (DESY) in Hamburg, Germany, working on research and development for the TESLA superconducting linear collider.  Her current work is helping to shape the next generation of particle accelerators.

Edwards received a B.S. (1957), an M.S. (1963) and a Ph.D. (1966) from Cornell University.

Last updated January 1, 2005.

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