Evangeline J. Downie

E. J. Downie E. J. Downie


Office: Samson 208

Postal Address:
Prof. E. J. Downie
Physics Department
The George Washington University
725 21st Street NW
DC 20052

Telephone: +1 202 994 3083 / +49 1767 557 3445

Email: edownie(at)gwu.edu

Undergraduate Summer Research Opportunity

Each Summer we take a group of upto six undergraduate and pre-thesis graduate students to Europe as part of the IRES (International Research Experience for Students) program. This NSF-funded program (award IIA-1358175) takes undergraduate and graduate research students to Mainz every Summer to perform hardware and software work on the detector, experimental simulation, and to participate in the running experiments. For more information, feel free to contact me at edownie(at)gwu.edu, or download the flyer and application packet. The deadline for Summer 2016 applications is February 8th 2016!


Fall Semester 2015: Taught two sections of Physics 1011: General Physics I

Fall Semester 2014: Taught two sections of Physics 1011: General Physics I

Fall Semester 2013: Taught Physics 1011: General Physics I

Spring Semester 2013: Taught Physics 1011: General Physics I

Fall Semester 2012: Taught Physics 1011: General Physics I

Spring Semester 2012: Taught Physics 6510: Communication in Physics

Spring Semester 2011: Oberassistent Experimentalphysik IV: Kernphysik, JGU Mainz, Germany

Fall Semester 2010: Oberassistent Physik fuer Naturwissenschaftler, JGU Mainz, Germany


My research time is equally divided between the MAMI accelerator of the Institut für Kernphysik at Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz in Germany and the MUSE (MUon Scattering Experiment) at Paul Scherrer Institute (PSI) in Switzerland.

At MAMI, as part of the A2 Collaboration, I research the structure and behaviour of the nucleons (protons and neutrons) and other nuclei.

The main focus of my MAMI research, at present, is Compton Scattering on the proton and neutron. We have taken data on three different asymmetries in a series of polarized Compton Scattering measurements on the proton, using a circularly polarized photon beam with a transverse polarized target, and a longitudinally polarized target, and a linearly polarized photon beam with an unpolarized liquid hydrogen target. These are the world's first doubly polarized photon asymmetries to be measured in Compton Scattering and we have taken the first polarised data below pion production threshold. A review of recent progress can be found here. The first publication on doubly polarized Compton Scattering, with a world-first experimental extraction of spin polarizabilities, has been published in PRL.

The MUSE experiment seeks to measure the reaction cross sections of elastic scattering of electrons and muons simultaneously with the same detector system. To do this we will use the mixed pion / muon / electron beam in the piM1 experimental area at PSI. As this is a very non-traditional scattering experiment, with a mixed, low-flux beam, we have to tag and track each beam particle both into and out of the liquid hydrogen target. By so doing, we aim to provide electron and muon cross sections of comparable accuracy to the current electron meansurements, and thereby learn some vital information in the quest to solve the Proton Radius Puzzle, a very challenging "hot topic" which has been covered extensively in scientific journals and popular media such as:

MUSE has passed scientific review at PSI and will be given significant beam time once all stages of the experiment feasibility study and Technical Design Report (TDR) are complete. We are in the process of negotiating funding of the experiment to allow a test run in 2017 and data-taking in 2018/9. So far we have been awarded at total of $747,000 from NSF and DOE to allow Research and Development of the target, detector and data analysis system design. For more information see the MUSE homepage.

My research is funded by several grants from the National Science Foundation (NSF), under award numbers PHY-1309130, IIA-1358175 and PHY-1404342.


Born and bred in Springwells, one of the less salubrious areas of Blantyre, Scotland, as one of four children. I attended Auchinraith Primary School, then recieved an assisted place and a scholarship to attend Hamilton College. Directly after this, while completing my HNC in Information Tecnology and Computing Systems and selling car insurance part time, I spent a very informative year at Anniesland College. This was followed by a Summer in the USA selling books door-to-door on a commision only basis. After which I began my studies at the University of Glasgow earning a Masters in Science in Physics in 2002, followed by my Ph.D. in Nuclear Physics in 2007.

I then did a year in Glasgow as a Postdoc with the PANDA Collaboration, but returned to my first love as a postdoc with the A2 Collaboration in August 2008. In August 2010 I recieved a Carl Zeiss Stiftung Postdoctoral Fellowship, which ended in January 2012 when I recieved the call to the Physics Department of The George Washington University for an Assistant Professorship.

Years of temp work in the summers leading upto my academic career have taught me much about management (often how not to do it :-)) and people in general, and made me eternally grateful for an education system which allows one to choose who you want to become and what you want to achieve. This is what I wish for my students: that they realise that education comes with a responsibility: to whom much is given, of him shall much be required. Oh, and that he who asks a question is a fool for five seconds, he who asks no questions is a fool for the rest of his life. Engage, become enthused, inspired and also (sometimes) exasperated and exhausted because everything worthwhile costs something to achieve!

Viel Erfolg!

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