Dr. Brianna Mount
Jonas Science 140A
Dr. Brianna Mount was born and raised in Idaho and earned B.S. degrees in physics and mathematics from the University of Idaho. She received her Ph.D. in Physics from Florida State University. Her career at BHSU began in 2011 and her research centers on underground physics, mostly at the Sanford Underground Research Facility (SURF). Rare event searches located in underground laboratories around the world require materials with lower and lower concentrations of radioactive elements. These low activities must be quantified both for the selection of materials in underground experiments and to inform simulations for data analysis. Dr. Mount is the lab director of the BHSU Underground Campus (BHUC), which is a cleanroom facility on the 4850’ level of SURF. This facility houses high purity germanium (HPGe) detectors to fill the niche of low background counting at SURF. Additionally, she is the PI of the BHSU Inductively Coupled Plasma Mass Spectrometer (ICP-MS) lab. ICP-MS is a very complimentary technique to the HPGe detectors. Through both of these projects, she has been able to build inter-disciplinary collaborations with biologists and chemists and is a member of the LUX-ZEPLIN (LZ) collaboration.
Dr. Mount heavily involves undergraduates in her projects as she believes undergraduate research is a vitally important part of undergraduate education. It has been shown to increase student retention and intellectual curiosity, as well as research and communications skills. She has curated her research to provide an important balance between being of scientific importance but also accessible to undergraduates.
Closely tied to her underground research, Dr. Mount is the director of several outreach activities. She is the organizer and PI of the BHSU Underground Science Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) program. This is a ten week summer internship program for seven undergraduate students from around the country each summer. Similarly, she is also the organizer of the five-week BHSU GEMADARC summer program. Additionally, since 2015, Dr. Mount has run the annual BHSU Underground Robotics Competition. Middle school students worked in pairs with a BHSU mentor to navigate a challenging course with their LEGO robots, which are eventually taken underground. She is also the lead organizer of the BHSU Conference for Undergraduate Women in Physics (CUWiP) in 2016 and 2020.