LHC Physics Center gives Chou’s career a boost

John Paul Chou (left) speaks with colleagues Alexey Ferapontov, Brown University; Saptaparna Bhattacharya, Brown University; and Charles Plager, UCLA/Fermilab. Photo: Christine Herman

John Paul Chou knew he wanted to pursue science when he was a little kid.

“I think I wanted to be a professor since I was 8,” Chou said. “Science is something that always fascinated me.”

Currently, Chou is a post-doctoral research fellow and an LPC fellow under Greg Landsberg at Brown University, where he has focused his efforts on seeking out large extra dimensions at the LHC.

This fall, he will be taking the next big step in his scientific career by becoming a professor of physics at Rutgers University.

Chou said he wasn’t planning on actively looking for jobs this year until he learned of the position at Rutgers, which has a reputation for having great interplay between its experimental and theoretical physicists.

“It was an opportunity and I didn’t want to miss it,” he said.

As a post-doc carrying out research at Fermilab, Chou got plugged in to the LHC Physics Center (LPC) where he found many opportunities to network, collaborate and mentor others.

Chou put together a physics reading group, served as chair of the “LPC topic of the week” forum and mentored graduate students.

Chou also found mentors for himself amongst LPC professors, who gave him a sense of what it’s like to be a professor.

“There’s a lot of expertise at the LPC— real genuine experts in particular fields,” Chou said. “Having access to that is huge.”

Ian Shipsey, physics professor at Purdue University and co-director of LPC, said he saw in Chou exactly the skill set needed in a professor and tried to nurture those qualities.

“He is the epitome of what we want in a young person at the LPC, because he’s excited about physics and about the community here, and he cares deeply about it,” Shipsey said. “He plans ahead, he gets people on board and he gives credit where it is due.”

Shipsey said he is very happy to see Chou take this next step.

“It’s a bit like being a parent who is losing a child, but you know that the child is going on to do something wonderful,” Shipsey said. “Of course we’ll miss him, but we’re very excited for him.”

Christine Herman