Who I am? (About Me)

I’m an ABD doctoral candidate in the High Energy Physics Group at the University of Hawai’i at Manoa where I work on the detection of ultrahigh energy particles with radio and microwave techniques, both in the lab and in the field, as well as using these particles as tools to study a diverse array of science. In particular, my research deals with ultrahigh energy (UHE) neutrinos, UHE cosmic rays, and accelerator physics.

As a 21st century physicist, I spend most of my time programming but I also spend a lot of time in the lab developing and testing hardware for future experiments. I’m a big proponent of “open-sourcing science” and ensuring the “reproducility of scientific analyses”; all of the code I write is available under a copy-left license on my Github or sourcehut.

With a formal background in Computer Science, I’m also particularly interested in programming language design, particularly of functional or quasi-functional languages (Haskell, Lisp, Julia et al.) and how they can be used to lower the barrier of entry to science, and make science easier, faster, and more reproducible.

I’m a Disciple of the Cult of Emacs and will gladly evangelize you to the winning side of the Editor War if given the opportunity.

What do I do? (Research Interests)

My primary research focuses on using radio and microwave detectors to do high-energy particle physics - both terrestrial and extra-terrestrial. Most of my work is done at energies above 1 EeV (1 billion GeV) but occasionally I’ll dabble down in TeV-scale collider physics (see ACE below).

Currently, most of my work is performed with the Antarctic Impulsive Transient Antenna (ANITA), a NASA-funded stratospheric balloon-borne pulsed radio interferometer designed to detect ultra-high energy (> 1 EeV) cosmic rays and neutrinos in-and-above Antarctica. I also work on the successor mission to ANITA, the Payload for Ultrahigh Energy Observations (PUEO) which will improve on ANITA’s sensitivity by an order of magnitude. For both experiments, my work touches on analysis, simulation, and hardware design with a particular focus on ANITA/PUEO’s detection of upgoing tau neutrinos via the extensive air shower produced when a tau-lepton decays in the atmosphere.

To support my simulation work with ANITA/PUEO, I am also heavily involved in developing the next-generation high-energy air shower simulation tool, CORSIKA 8. In particular, I lead the development of the Python analysis toolkit as well as the development of the radio emission modeling.

I am also involved with the development of a new particle detector technology aimed at a next generation collider (like the FCC-hh) that uses coherent microwave Cherenkov emission from high-energy particle showers inside dielectric-loaded waveguides; this is the Askaryan Calorimeter Experiment (ACE). ACE elements are 5D detectors providing ~1 ps (1 trillionth of a second) timing resolution, a shower energy measurement, and exquisite spatial measurements of high energy showers in conjunction with an existing calorimeter technology. These elements are simple to build and extremely rad-hard.

Who do I work with? (Collaborations)

What have I done? (Publications)

In reverse chronological order:

  1. Allison, P. et al. “The Payload for Ultrahigh Energy Observations (PUEO): A White Paper”, arXiv Preprint [Submitted] (2021)
  2. Deaconu, C. et al. “A search for ultrahigh-energy neutrinos associated with astrophysical sources using the third flight of ANITA”, arXiv Preprint [Submitted] (2021)
  3. Smith, D. et al. “Experimental tests of sub-surface reflectors as an explanation for the ANITA anomalous events”, arXiv Preprint [Submitted] (2021)
  4. Romero-Wolf, A. et a. “Radio Detection of Ultra-high Energy Cosmic Rays with Low Lunar Orbiting SmallSats”, Snowmass 2021 (2021)
  5. Gorham, P. W. et al. “Unusual Near-horizon Cosmic-ray-like Events Observed by ANITA-IV”, Physical Review Letters (2021)
  6. Gorham, P. W. et al. “Observation of an Unusual Upward-Going Cosmic-Ray-Like Event in the Third Flight of ANITA.”, Physical Review Letters 121.16 (2018)
  7. Gorham, P. W. et al. “Picosecond Timing of Microwave Cherenkov Impulses from High-Energy Particle Showers Using Dielectric-Loaded Waveguides.”, Physical Review Accelerators and Beams 21.7 (2018)

Where have I spoken? (Talks and Presentations)

In reverse chronological order:

  1. Prechelt, R. “Prowling for Ultrahigh Energy Neutrinos with PUEO”, American Physical Society (April 2021)
  2. Prechelt, R. “Prowling for Ultrahigh Energy Neutrinos with PUEO”, CR-SIG Minisymposium (April 2021)
  3. Prechelt, R. “Picosecond Timing Layers for Future Calorimeters: Updates from the Askaryan Calorimeter Experiment (ACE) “, CPAD 2021 (2021)
  4. Prechelt, R. “Askaryan Calorimeter Experiment”, Snowmass2021 Calorimetry Working Group (2020)
  5. Prechelt, R. “A Proposed Architecture for Radio Simulations in CORSIKA 8”, CORSIKA 8 Workshop (2020)
  6. Prechelt, R. “Constraints on the ultra-high energy cosmic neutrino flux from the fourth flight of ANITA”, Neutrino2020 (2020)
  7. Prechelt, R., Gorham, P. W “Results from ACE: picosecond timing planes for future collider detectors”, CPAD 2019 (2019)

Where have I been? (Education)