Melissa Franklin

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This article is about the Harvard professor. For the American swimmer, see Missy Franklin.
Melissa Franklin
Born (1956-09-30) September 30, 1956 (age 59)
Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
Institutions Fermilab
Harvard University
Alma mater University of Toronto
Stanford University
Thesis Selected studies of charmonium decay (1982)
Doctoral advisor Gary Feldman
Doctoral students David Kestenbaum

Melissa Eve Bronwen Franklin (born September 30, 1956) is an experimental particle physicist and the Mallinckrodt Professor of Physics and the former physics department chair at Harvard University.[1] While working at the Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory in Chicago, her team found some of the first evidences for the existence of the top quark. In 1993, Franklin was elected a fellow of the American Physical Society. She is currently member of the CDF (Fermilab) and ATLAS (CERN) collaborations.

Early life and education[edit]

Franklin grew up in Toronto, Canada. She dropped out of high school to form an alternative school with friends.[2] After attending SEED Alternative School she studied physics at the University of Toronto and graduated in 1977.[2]


Franklin earned her physics PhD from Stanford University in 1982 with thesis titled "Selected studies of charmonium decay" under the supervision of Gary Feldman, working with the school's linear accelerator, SLAC.[2] She did postdoctoral work at the University of California at Berkeley in the Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory. In 1988 she became an assistant professor at the University of Illinois, and worked at Fermilab in Chicago. In 1987 she joined Harvard University, later becoming the physics department's first tenured woman professor. For over a decade, Franklin traveled between Boston and Chicago every few weeks, to check on and fix equipment at Fermilab. In 1995, her team proved the existence of the top quark.[2]


  1. ^ [1] Archived June 26, 2010, at the Wayback Machine.
  2. ^ a b c d Yount, Lisa (1999). A to Z of women in science and math. New York, NY: Facts on File. ISBN 0-8160-3797-3. 

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