Arts and Sciences Distinguished Professor, 2017
John Beacom is director of Ohio State’s Center for Cosmology and AstroParticle Physics (CCAPP). His sustained contributions in research, teaching and service have made him an internationally recognized leader in physics and astronomy. Under his leadership, CCAPP has helped cement Ohio State's role as one of the most significant centers for research in cosmology and particle astrophysics.
Beacom received his two BS degrees at the University of Kansas and his PhD at the University of Wisconsin. He joined Ohio State in 2004.
Beacom’s research focus is astroparticle physics, a discipline that has shown that understanding the largest things — stars, galaxies, and the Universe itself — depends on understanding the smallest things — atoms, nuclei, and elementary particles — and vice versa. His specialty is neutrinos, and he is known for the breadth of his theoretical work and its impact on experiment and observation. He has 120 published papers with 9400 citations. He received a CAREER award from the National Science Foundation, is a fellow of the American Physical Society (APS), and was recently named a distinguished scholar at Fermilab, the United States’ premier particle-physics laboratory.
He received both the Arts and Sciences Outstanding Teaching Award, judged by an all-student committee, and Ohio State's Alumni Award for Distinguished Teaching, a university wide award. Of the many students and postdocs he had an important role in mentoring, 18 are now in permanent or permanent-track research positions.
Beacom served as elected chair of the APS Division of Astrophysics, which presently has about 3000 members. The APS named him an outstanding referee, a lifetime designation. He is now a divisional associate editor at Physical Review Letters, the world’s leading physics journal. He is active in outreach, leading the organization of Science Sundays, a popular free public lecture series hosted by the College of Arts and Sciences. He frequently makes presentations to science enthusiasts of all ages. External colleagues highlighted his varied roles in expanding opportunities for people from under-represented groups.