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Ultracold neutron professor heats things up at UWinnipeg

Dr. Russ Mammei

Dr. Russ Mammei

UWinnipeg welcomes new ultracold neutron physics professor Dr. Russell Mammei thanks to an agreement with Canada’s National Laboratory for Particle and Nuclear Physics (TRIUMF, Vancouver, BC). Mammei’s position is jointly funded by UWinnipeg and TRIUMF. This collaboration strengthens the bridge between UWinnipeg and will turn up the heat in the field of research with other leading Canadian institutions. This milestone agreement is the first of its kind between a Manitoba-based institution and TRIUMF.

Mammei is considered one of the leading experts in Canada in the field of ultracold neutrons. The new appointment supports a leading particle physics experiment led by UWinnipeg researcher Dr. Jeff Martin. The experiment is on the neutron electric dipole moment, and seeks to uncover why the universe is made of matter, as opposed to antimatter.

Dr. Jeff Martin

Dr. Jeff Martin

“Russ is the leading researcher in ultracold neutrons,” said Dr. Jeff Martin. “He’s a valuable team member on our international Japan-Canada collaboration.”

Mammei is a key member of the Neutron Electric Dipole Moment Experiment at TRIUMF. This experiment employs a nuclear magnetic resonance technique (the Ramsey Resonance technique), to make the world’s most precise measurement of the neutron’s electric dipole moment (nEDM) using the new ultracold neutron (UCN) source.

“I am responsible for ensuring the magnetic uniformity and stability specifications of the experiment are met, which are expected to be the dominant source of systematic error in the measurement,” explained Mammei.

The University of Winnipeg became an associate member of the TRIUMF consortium in 2011. TRIUMF is owned and operated by a consortium of Canadian universities under an operating grant from the National Research Council Canada.

TRIUMF is one of the world’s leading subatomic physics laboratories. It brings together dedicated physicists and interdisciplinary talent, sophisticated technical resources, and commercial partners in a way that has established the laboratory as a global model of success. Its large user community is composed of international teams of scientists, post-doctoral fellows and graduate and undergraduate students.

Dr. Russell Mammei Biography

Mammei hails from El Paso, Texas. His career in physics began via being an avid tennis player. He had planned on majoring in metallurgical engineering so he could develop racquets. When his tennis time was cut at the University of Texas, Mammei found himself with the time to experiment with physics. Due to the inspiration of a ‘particular’ physics professor, Mammei changed his major to physics and mathematics. He was converted while doing research for his professor Dr. Phillip Cole in subatomic physics using electron scattering at Jefferson Lab in Newport News, VA, USA.

He graduated as a top ten senior of his 2003 class and then went to Virginia Tech for graduate school, where he worked on an ultra-cold neutron experiment at Los Alamos National Lab in New Mexico.

Incidentally, during that same summer at the Jefferson Lab he met his physicist wife, UManitoba Faculty Member Juliette Mammei. They have two beautiful children and two cats, “all of whom are too smart for their own good”, according to Mammei.

Naniece Ibrahim, Communications Officer, The University of Winnipeg
P: 204.988.7130, E: n.ibrahim@uwinnipeg.ca