Eric Prebys

Headshot of Eric Prebys

Professor and Director of Crocker Nuclear Laboratory
Office: 337 Physics Building
Phone: (530) 771-7024

Personal Professional Website:

Research Interests:

High Energy Particle Physics, Accelerator Physics

Eric has been involved in high energy research his entire career and has been involved in experiments at Fermilab, CERN, SLAC, and KEK. He is currently working on the Mu2e experiment at Fermilab. This experiment will search for the conversion to an electron of a muon that has been captured by an atomic nucleus.

This reaction can proceed through either the exchange of a virtual photon or through the exchange of a neutral boson too heavy to be detected directly. In the Standard Model of particle physics, this reaction can only proceed via virtual neutrino mixing, at a rate far too low to be detected in any conceivable experiment in the forseeable future; however, the Standard Model is known to be incomplete, and this reaction is an almost universal feature of extensions to it.

The goal of the Mu2e experiment is to search for this conversion with a sensitivity 10,000 times better than the previous best limit. The experiment is designed to be background free at that level, so any observed signal will be unambiguous proof of new physics.

In addition to particle physics, Eric has been involved with accelerator physics since going to Fermilab in 2001. He served as head of the Fermilab Proton Source, and later as head of the US LHC Accelerator Research Program (LARP).

At Davis, he is serving as director of the Crocker Nuclear Laboratory, which is home to a 76 inch cyclotron, capable of delivering 72 MeV protons, as well as Deuterons and Alpha Particles. This cyclotron has a venerable history. The magnetic yoke and some other components date back to the 60 inch cyclotron, build at Berkeley in 1939. The cycltron was moved to UC Davis in the 1960s and significantly upgraded, after which it was instrumental in building up the Davis physics program. It is currently being used for radiation damage studies and for the treatment of occular cancer. In the future, there are plans to increase the program to include the production of medical isotopes, measurement of nuclear cross-sections, systematic energy deposition studies, and support of educational programs.

Physics Department Office: Room 337 Physics Building
Crocker Office: 103 Jungerman Hall

Academic Web Page, including course information:
Fermilab Web Page, including presentation archive:

Curriculum Vitea

Research Areas

Career History

  • Director, Crocker Nuclear Laboratory, University of California, Davis, 2017-present
  • Professor, Department of Physics, University of California, Davis, 2017-present
  • Senior Scientist, Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory, 2006-2017
  • Head, US LHC Acclerator Research Program (LARP), 2008-2013
  • Program Director, Lee Teng Undergraduate Internship, 2007-2017
  • Head, Fermilab Proton Source Department, 2004-2008
  • Scientist, Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory, 2001-2006
  • Assistant Professor of Physics, Princeton University, 1994-2001
  • Research Associate, Princeton University, 1992-1994
  • Scientific Associate, European Laboratory for High Energy Physics (CERN), 1990-1992
  • PhD in Physics, University of Rochester, 1990
  • MA in Physics, University of Rochester, 1986
  • BS in Engineering Physics, University of Arizona, 1984


  • Fermilab Exceptional Performance Recognition Award, for work done in support of Mu2e Project (2012)
  • Appreciation award from US Department of Energy, for work done as Director of LARP (2013)
  • Elected Fellow of American Physical Society (2013)
  • SSC Fellowship (1993)