Helen Quinn is a theoretical particle physicists whose contributions to the field have earned her multiple awards including membership in this academy. In retirement she has turned her attantion to k-12 level science education, chairing the NRC Board on Science Education and the study that authored the influential report “A Framework for k-12 Science Education”. She currently serves on multiple advisory groups for work related to implementation of the vision ffor science educatioon put forward by this report.

Research Interests

My area of research is theoretical particle physics. For many years my chief interest has been to decipher the details of the tiny differences between the laws of physics for matter and those for antimatter. The technical term for this difference is CP Symmetry Violation. The deep question behind this interest is to understand how, given that matter and antimatter have such similar physical properties, the Universe came to be dominated by matter. My research however, focuses on the particle physics, not the cosmology, since the latter can only be understood once we have a good understanding of the former. My focus in recent years is thus on how experiments looking at B decays can overconstrain our current theory and thereby obtain precision probes for features that do not fit within that picture. Precision tests require precision theory; my interest is in defining tests that are as free as possible form uncertainties in the theoretical predictions that arise due to the effects of strong interaction physics, which we cannot reliably calculate.

Membership Type


Election Year


Primary Section

Section 13: Physics

Secondary Section

Section 33: Applied Physical Sciences