Scientist Brian Nord receives 2016 Director’s Award

Chief Operating Officer Tim Meyer, right, presents the Director's Award to scientist Brian Nord. Photo: Reidar Hahn

Chief Operating Officer Tim Meyer, right, presents the Director’s Award to scientist Brian Nord. Photo: Reidar Hahn

On Nov. 7, scientist Brian Nord was honored with the 2016 Director’s Award for his exceptional contributions to the laboratory’s education programs.

Nord regularly mentors high school students and teachers in physics. He also speaks with college students who visit the laboratory.

“Brian Nord is not only a productive scientist, but he is also a talented communicator — a person who studies dark energy and dark matter and can also explain it,” said Chief Operating Officer Tim Meyer, who presented Nord with the award. “This is a rare combination of talents that echoes back to the founding vision of Fermilab as a place the advances discovery, inspires people and drives growth.”

Nord is also active in public outreach. He has given Ask-a-Scientist lectures, talked at the Family Open House, performed in the Fermilab Physics Slam and given tours for Saturday Morning Physics.

Nord says he pursued science for two reasons: to find things out and to help people.

“At its core, science is about people — either the people that science serves or the people who make the science happen,” Nord said.

His passion for outreach stems from a desire to empower people to better understand the world around them. And a science-literate population benefits everyone, he says.

“Beyond its focus on people, science is about justice,” he said. “Science literacy provides a mechanism for individuals and societies to make choices that uphold justice and fairness in our communities.”

Nine others at the lab were also recognized for their contributions to K-12 programs, including physics presentations at local libraries, student field trips to Fermilab and tours of the experimental areas. They were Andrew Dalesandro, Penelope Constanta, Dee Hahn, Cindy Joe, Alyssa Miller, Chris Olsen, Jamie Santucci, Marc Weinberg and Jerry Zimmerman.

The award is given annually to an employee, user, graduate student, retiree or guest scientist who contributed significantly to Fermilab’s K-12 education programs.

“The network of education and outreach professionals and volunteers who do this work is amazing, and it’s part of what makes Fermilab what it is,” Nord said.