Argonne National Laboratory

Karen Byrum


Karen Byrum is a physicist in the Cosmic Frontier group within Argonne’s High Energy Physics Division, and an associate at the Kavli Institute for Cosmological Physics at the University of Chicago. She holds roles as the SPT-3G Deputy Project Manager and Mu2e Electronics Systems Team Leader.

Byrum’s broad physics interests range from weak interactions in particle physics at accelerators, indirect dark matter detection in astrophysics and cosmology to the development of the readout and triggering electronics and generic detector R&D required to perform the physics measurements. She is a member of the South Pole Telescope (SPT) team, which is using the SPT to determine the fundamental properties of the universe, was the deputy project manager during the SPT-3G project phase (Jun 2014 – Feb 2017) and is a member of the next generation stage 4 CMB program, CMB-S4.

Byrum is also involved with the Mu2e project at Fermilab where she holds the position of electronics integration team leader.   In the recent past, Byrum led Argonne’s VERITAS (Very Energetic Radiation Imaging Telescope Array System) team from 2007-2016. VERITAS is a major ground-based gamma-ray observatory located at the base camp of the Fred Lawrence Whipple Observatory in southern Arizona. Her team played a leading role in the Dark Matter Science Program and led the development of an ultra-fast FPGA based Level-2 trigger.    Byrum was a founding member of the Large Area Picosecond group and was part of the Argonne team which received a Patent for “Micro-channel plate detectors”.  

Byrum was a 2014 American Physical Society Fellow and served as a member of the High Energy Physics Advisory Panel (HEPAP) from 2011-2014 and served as an elected member of the Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory (FermiLab) Users Committee from 1997-1999.

Byrum received her PhD in Physics from the University of Wisconsin in Madison in 1991 and was a postdoctoral fellow at Argonne on the Collider Detector Facility at FermiLab prior to joining the staff at Argonne in 1995.