Maxwell Chertok

Headshot of Maxwell Chertok


One Shields Avenue
Physics Department
Davis, CA 95616

Office: 329 Physics Building
Phone: +1 (530) 754-7351
Fax: (530) 752-4717

Personal Website:

Research Interests:

Professor Maxwell Chertok joined the UC Davis faculty in 2000. Chertok performs research in high energy particle physics, and participates in the CMS experiment at the CERN Large Hadron Collider. Following a decades-long intensive search to uncover the mechanism responsible for electroweak symmetry breaking, the discovery of a Higgs boson was announced in 2012 by the CMS and ATLAS experiments. This constitutes a major advancement for the field, but simultaneously raises further profound questions about the nature of the universe.

Great discoveries require great instrumentation, and Chertok has contributed to two critical detector systems in this pursuit. The silicon vertex detector for the CDF Run II experiment required advances in semiconductor technology, control systems, and data buffering. Chertok and collaborators designed a novel parallel fiber optic data readout scheme to meet these needs. At CERN, the UC Davis group contributed to the design, assembly, and testing of the unprecedented silicon pixel detector. In 2008 while on sabbatical, Chertok led a team in the installation of this device at the very heart of the CMS experiment.

Chertok uses leptonic signatures, including hadronic tau decays, to search for new phenomena in the colliders' vast data samples. This research is motivated by Supersymmetric and Higgs theories predicting spectacular signatures in these channels. Latest results from the LHC indicate that a very fruitful era of understanding is here, and questions such as how particles acquire mass, why there is an electroweak scale, and what is the nature of dark matter will finally be addressed.

Research Areas

Career History

  • Ph.D., Boston University, 1997
  • Assistant Research Scientist, Texas A&M University, 1996-2000