Robert Svoboda

Headshot of Robert Svoboda

Distinguished Professor
Office: 349 Physics Building
Phone: +1 (530) 754-9610
Fax: +1 (530) 752-4717

Personal Professional Website:

Research Interests:

My research is mainly in the areas of particle physics and astrophysics, where I am building on the advances that have been made by myself and others in neutrino detection technology. Neutrinos are one of the most common particles in the universe (thought to outnumber atoms by about a billion to one), but yet one of the least understood. We are now in a "golden age" of neutrino science in that there are many experiments currently running, and a new wave of new facilities and experiments in the works. These range from small(-ish) scale low background experiments in deep mines, to billion-dollar scale international facilities now under construction in the U.S., Japan, and China. In addition to experiments in fundamental particle and nuclear physics, these new facilities also seek to exploit the potential of neutrinos as astrophysical messengers. Areas include solar neutrinos, galactic and cosmological core collapse supernovae neutrinos, and aven a megaton scale detector under the ice at the South Pole to detect Ultra-High-Energy neutrinos from AGN's and other as yet unknown sources.

Given the breadth of the field, it is not so surprising that over the course of my career I have performed experiments at underground laboratories in the U.S., Japan, and Europe; utilized the KEK, LANSCE, CERN, and FNAL accelerator facilities; and have even had two cycles as a NASA-funded guest observer on an orbiting gamma ray telescope (CGRO). Thus, I have taught introductory planetary and stellar astronomy many times in my career in addition to physics, and have on-going collaborations with researchers in chemistry at Brookhaven (BNL) and Lawrence Berkeley (LBNL) National Labs. Along with "pure" science, I am also interested in continuing to advance particle detector technology both for societal reasons (e.g. nuclear nonproliferation) and for the great opportunity such research offers to mentor students in a hands-on laboratory environment.

Research Areas

Professional Appointments

  • Distinguished Professor, University of California, Davis (2006-)
  • Professor, Louisiana State University (1989-2006)

Awards and Other Recognition

  • University of California Distingished Professor (2017)
  • Breakthrough Prize (2015)
  • Fellow, American Physical Society (2010)
  • Rossi Prize, American Physical Society (1989)
  • Asahi Prize, Japan Society for the Promotion of Science (1988)

Scientific Leadership

  • PI, Argon Resonant Transport Interaction Experiment (ARTIE) at LANL (2018-)
  • Co-PI, Accelerator Neutrino Neutron Interaction Experiment (ANNIE) at Fermilab (2014-)
  • PI, Argon Capture Experiment at DANCE (ACED) at LANL (2017-2019)
  • Founding Co-Spokesperson for LBNE/DUNE (2009-2012)
  • PI, NSF consortium of 12 universities to develop a Long Baseline Neutrino Experiment (2009-2014)
  • U.S. Co-Spokesperson, Double Chooze Experiment in France (2006-2013)
  • Co-Convenor, Super-kamiokande Solar Neutrino Group (1995-2004)

Academic Leadership

  • Chair, Physics Department UC Davis (2016-2019)
  • Chair, College of Mathematics & Physical Sciences Faculty Steering Committee (2013-2016)
  • Chair, UC Berkeley Nuclear Engineering Advisory Board (2015-)
  • Chair, Comprehensive review of the University of Hawaii College of Natural Sciences (2021)
  • Chair of HEPCAT Executive Committee, a DOE graduate fellowship program (2022-)

Community and Outreach

  • Advisory Board, Erciyes University, Turkey (2023-)
  • SNOLAB Institute Board, Canada (2019-)
  • European Commission ASPERA committee (2010-2012)