Leo Piilonen appointed William E. Hassinger, Jr. Senior Faculty Fellow in Physics

Leo Piilonen

Leo Piilonen

BLACKSBURG, Va., Sept. 24, 2010 – Leo Piilonen, professor of physics in the College of Science at Virginia Tech, was recently appointed the William E. Hassinger, Jr., Senior Faculty Fellow in Physics by the Virginia Tech Board of Visitors.

Established in 2007, the William E. Hassinger, Jr., Senior Faculty Fellowship was established by William E. Hassinger Jr. to enhance the national and international prominence of the Virginia Tech Department of Physics. The fellowship supports and rewards departmental research programs considered most likely to generate important scientific breakthroughs of a fundamental or applied nature. The fellowship appointment is for three years and is renewable.

A member of Virginia Tech community since 1987, Piilonen leads an internationally known research program in high-energy particle physics that focuses on charge-parity symmetry breaking in B meson decay. He is a leading member of the Belle collaborations at the KEK National Laboratory in Japan, and his work was cited as the experimental verification of the theoretical predictions honored with the Nobel Prize in Physics in 2008.

Piilonen has a significant record of research funding. Uninterrupted since 1989, he has served as principal or co-principal investigator on grants totaling approximately $7.6 million. He has supervised nine Ph.D. students and trained seven postdoctoral fellows. He has authored or co-authored 369 refereed publications in international journals and conference proceedings.

He has a distinguished record of leadership in the scientific community. He chairs the Institutional Board of the long-standing Belle and the newly formed Belle II collaborations and is responsible for policy formation, processing of new member applications, and election of the spokesperson for these two large collaborations that bring together hundreds of physicists from approximately 50 institutions around the world.

Piilonen received his bachelor’s degree from the University of Toronto and a master’s degree and Ph.D. from Princeton University.

The College of Science at Virginia Tech gives students a comprehensive foundation in the scientific method. Outstanding faculty members teach courses and conduct research in biological sciences, chemistry, economics, geosciences, mathematics, physics, psychology, and statistics. The college offers programs in cutting-edge areas including, among others, those in energy and the environment, developmental science across the lifespan, infectious diseases, computational science, nanoscience, and neuroscience. The College of Science is dedicated to fostering a research-intensive environment that promotes scientific inquiry and outreach.