Who’s Who at the Lab-Reina Maruyama

Reina Maruyama
Associate Professor of Physics and Astronomy

What do you do here at Wright Lab? 

I lead a wonderful team of scientists – students, postdocs, and research scientists – with support of our amazing Wright Lab administrative and technical staff.  Together we are studying neutrinos and trying to figure out the identity of dark matter. We are looking for neutrinoless double beta decay ( CUORE and CUPID Experiments), testing if the DAMA collaboration really saw WIMP or WIMP-like dark matter (COSINE Experiment), and looking for dark matter axions (HAYSTAC and its extension, RAY).

What is the most unique and/or exciting experience you’ve had here at Wright Lab? 

I have had the privilege to work with the team that transformed the Wright Lab into the vibrant community for research and education that it is today. It took a lot of hard work by many people, including my husband, Karsten, and I am so grateful to have a place where I feel I can be and do my best work.

What is something that people might not know about you that you’d like to share with the community? 

My great grandfather – my mother’s mother’s father – was a physicist. His name was Yoshida Usaburo and he was a physics professor at Kyoto University. Like me, he was also an experimentalist and studied an “effect observed by Mr. Stark” on hydrogen and helium, and later condensed matter. I remember well his wife, my great grandmother, who lived until she was 94. Every time we visited her and her house, we sang hymns together and she would bring out great games for us to play. My great grandfather was away from home for two years (1922 – 1923) just after my grandmother was born, doing research at a lab at Cambridge and traveling across Europe and the U.S. to learn what is happening in the physics world outside of Japan. He actually visited Yale on May 11, 1923. In his diary, he comments on the great experimental facilities at Yale and complains about there being no taxis and having to walk up Science Hill to reach Sloane. My grandmother remembers him telling her about how he thinks his student, Yukawa, will someday win the Nobel Prize. And he was right!  We have a letter from Yukawa to my great grandfather from 1939 explaining that he has to cut his stay in Europe short because a war is breaking out – he would take a boat to New York, then take another boat, through Panama Canal, back to Japan.

Where do you like to work remotely?

Mostly at my desk in the ‘office’ or at the dining table. Wherever I need to be or get quiet space, with four people working, in meetings on zoom, on the phone, doing homework, or practicing the cello. The photos are my view on the zoom calls you are used to seeing me in.