Faculty Research Interests
Observational Cosmology, LSST Dark Energy Science Collaboration, Gravitational Lensing
Pat and her research group are currently working hard as part of the exciting Large Synoptic Survey Telescope Dark Energy Science Collaboration in the general area of gravitational lensing. Her group is using analytic calculations, simulations and existing astronomical images to thoroughly understand potential systematic biases and challenges in extracting accurate and precise measurements of cosmic shear from gravitational lensing with current and future surveys. Current projects include the study of chromatic effects and blended objects.
NASA/ESA image of strong lensing due to the galaxy cluster Abell 2218.
Prof. Burchat grew up in a very large family in a very small town in Canada. She is passionate about teaching and instilling enthusiasm for science in her students. At Stanford, she has received the Dean's Award for Distinguished Teaching and the Walter J. Gores Award for excellence in teaching. She is a Fellow of the American Physical Society and has received a Guggenheim Fellowship. She is past-Chair of the National Organizing Committee for the APS Conferences for Undergraduate Women in Physics.
Professor Burchat's research interests focus on fundamental questions in physics: What is the Universe made of? What are the laws of physics that govern the constituents of the Universe? She is interested in studying the Universe at both the smallest and the largest scales. She has used accelerators to probe the elementary particles and the fundamental interactions; her current focus is on using telescopes to investigate the cosmological evolution of the Universe.
Prof. Burchat is a member of an international collaboration preparing for operation of a telescope that will provide the most complete census of the Universe to date -- the Large Synoptic Survey Telescope which is under construction in Chile and is scheduled to see “first light” around 2020. Prof. Burchat's group works within the LSST Dark Energy Science Collaboration to prepare to fully optimize the use of the gravitational bending of light by "dark matter" to study the evolution of "dark energy". In the past, she worked with colleagues at Stanford to measure the masses of giant clusters of galaxies using images from the Subaru Telescope in Hawaii.
Professor Burchat has been a key player in a number of accelerator-based particle physics experiments: Mark II at the SLAC Linear Collider, E791 at Fermilab, and BABAR at SLAC. Each of these experiments probed the fundamental interactions, especially the “weak” interaction. The research of Burchat's group in these experiments included pioneering studies of the neutral carrrier of the weak interaction (the Z0), searches for heavy neutral leptons, precision studies of semileptonic decays of charm mesons, searches for and discovery of charm mixing, and detailed studies of differences in the way matter and antimatter evolve in time (CP violation in B meson decays).