Scott P. Wakely

Professor, Department of Physics; the Director of the Enrico Fermi Institute

Ph.D., University of Minnesota, 1999
Contact Information
Phone: (773) 834-3249
Fax: 2-6645
Location: ERC 475
WWW: Web Site
VERITAS - the Very Energetic Radiation Imaging Telescope Array System.
My research spans a number of topics in the categories of experimental astroparticle physics and high-energy astrophysics. This includes several investigations into the nature and origin of very high energy (VHE) cosmic radiation, including gamma rays above 10 GeV and cosmic rays above 100 TeV. I am also interested in topics at the interface of cosmology and astroparticle physics, including studies of the propagation of VHE gamma rays through extragalactic photon fields. I currently am working on the following projects:

VERITAS - the Very Energetic Radiation Imaging Telescope Array System. This experiment comprises 4 12-meter imaging atmospheric Cerenkov telescopes designed to detect and measure gamma rays over an energy range of 50 GeV to 50 TeV. VERITAS is currently taking data while under construction in southern Arizona. Once complete in 2007, VERITAS will be the most sensitive instrument of its kind in the northern hemisphere for the investigation of gamma ray sources such as galactic supernova remnants and AGN.

TRICE - the Track-Imaging Cerenkov Detector. TRICE is a collaboration with Argonne National Laboratory to build a high-resolution imaging telescope for the measurement of Cerenkov light directly from heavy cosmic ray primaries in the atmosphere. This technique was originated at Chicago and the first measurements demonstrating the method were performed in 2006, allowing the determination of cosmic ray composition with unprecedented precision for a ground-based instrument. Additionally, the technology developed for this task will have direct applications for the next-generation of ground-based gamma ray instruments.

Balloon and Space-based Transition Radiation Detection. Transition radiation detectors provide perhaps the only feasible way to make detailed measurements of high-energy (E > 100 TeV) cosmic ray fluxes at the top of the atmosphere. The TRD group at Chicago, which includes Professors Muller and Swordy, has recently flown two successful Long-Duration Balloon missions at the South Pole with the TRACER and CREAM instruments. In addition to this, we are working on designs for a possible future space-based TRD mission called ACCESS. ACCESS will be the largest cosmic-ray detector ever flown in space, allowing it to investigate energies up to the so-called "knee" in the primary cosmic ray spectrum.

Ongoing Scientific Projects:
Past Students

GRADUATE: Hao Huan (2012), Thomas Weisgarber (2012), Stephanie A. Wissel (2010)

UNDERGRADUATE: Javon Brown (2018), Remy Prechelt (2018), Adam Brozynski (2013), Kate Kamdin (2011)
KICP Publications
2018 | 2017 | 2016 | 2015 | 2014 | 2013 | 2012 | 2011 | 2010 | 2009 | 2008 | 2007 | 2006 | 2005

Latest Journal Publications
  1. "Extreme HBL behavior of Markarian 501 during 2012", Astronomy & Astrophysics, Volume 620, id.A181, 23 pp (Dec 2018)
  2. "Periastron Observations of TeV Gamma-Ray Emission from a Binary System with a 50-year Period", The Astrophysical Journal Letters, Volume 867, Issue 1, article id. L19, 8 pp. (2018) (Nov 2018)
  3. "On the Neutrino Flares from the Direction of TXS 0506+056", arXiv:1811.07439 (Nov 2018)
  4. "VERITAS and Fermi-LAT Observations of TeV Gamma-Ray Sources Discovered by HAWC in the 2HWC Catalog", The Astrophysical Journal, Volume 866, Issue 1, article id. 24, 18 pp. (2018) (Oct 2018)
  5. "Measurement of cosmic-ray electrons at TeV energies by VERITAS", Physical Review D, Volume 98, Issue 6, id.062004 (Sep 2018)
  6. "Review of Particle Physics*", Physical Review D, Volume 98, Issue 3, id.030001 (Aug 2018)
  7. "Multimessenger observations of a flaring blazar coincident with high-energy neutrino IceCube-170922A", Science, Volume 361, Issue 6398, id. eaat1378 (2018) (Jul 2018)
  8. "Measurement of the iron spectrum in cosmic rays by VERITAS", Physical Review D, Volume 98, Issue 2, id.022009 (Jul 2018)
  9. "HESS J1943+213: An Extreme Blazar Shining through the Galactic Plane", The Astrophysical Journal, Volume 862, Issue 1, article id. 41, 15 pp. (2018) (Jul 2018)
  10. "VERITAS Observations of the BL Lac Object TXS 0506+056", The Astrophysical Journal Letters, Volume 861, Issue 2, article id. L20, 6 pp. (2018) (Jul 2018)
  11. "A Very High Energy γ-Ray Survey toward the Cygnus Region of the Galaxy", The Astrophysical Journal, Volume 861, Issue 2, article id. 134, 33 pp. (2018) (Jul 2018)
  12. "VizieR Online Data Catalog: Five years of blazar observations with VERITAS (Archambault+, 2016)", VizieR On-line Data Catalog: J/AJ/151/142. Originally published in: 2016AJ....151..142A (Apr 2018)
  13. "A Strong Limit on the Very-high-energy Emission from GRB 150323A", The Astrophysical Journal, Volume 857, Issue 1, article id. 33, 6 pp. (2018) (Apr 2018)
  14. "Multiwavelength Observations of the Blazar BL Lacertae: A New Fast TeV Gamma-Ray Flare", The Astrophysical Journal, Volume 856, Issue 2, article id. 95, 14 pp. (2018) (Apr 2018)
  15. "Multiwavelength follow-up of a rare IceCube neutrino multiplet", Astronomy & Astrophysics, Volume 607, id.A115, 22 pp (Nov 2017)
  16. "Discovery of Very-high-energy Emission from RGB J2243+203 and Derivation of Its Redshift Upper Limit", The Astrophysical Journal Supplement Series, Volume 233, Issue 1, article id. 7, 6 pp. (2017) (Nov 2017)
  17. "Very-High-Energy γ-Ray Observations of the Blazar 1ES 2344+514 with VERITAS", Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, Volume 471, Issue 2, p.2117-2123 (Oct 2017)
  18. "VERITAS contributions to the 35th International Cosmic Ray Conference", arXiv:1709.07843 (Sep 2017)
  19. "Cherenkov Telescope Array Contributions to the 35th International Cosmic Ray Conference (ICRC2017)", arXiv:1709.03483 (Sep 2017)
  20. "Multiband variability studies and novel broadband SED modeling of Mrk 501 in 2009", Astronomy & Astrophysics, Volume 603, id.A31, 30 pp (Jul 2017)

Latest Conference Proceedings
  1. "Status of the HELIX Experiment", APS April Meeting 2017, abstract id. J4.006 (Jan 2017)
  2. "Cosmic-ray isotope measurements with HELIX", 35th International Cosmic Ray Conference. 10-20 July, 2017. Bexco, Busan, Korea, Proceedings of Science, Vol. 301. Online at, id.226 (Jan 2017)
  3. "A Medium Sized Schwarzschild-Couder Cherenkov Telescope Design Proposed for the Cherenkov Telescope Array", Proceedings of the 34th International Cosmic Ray Conference (ICRC2015). 30 July - 6 August, 2015. The Hague, The Netherlands. Online at, id.1029 (Jul 2015)
  4. "Development of a SiPM Camera for a Schwarzschild-Couder Cherenkov Telescope for the Cherenkov Telescope Array", Proceedings of the 34th International Cosmic Ray Conference (ICRC2015). 30 July - 6 August, 2015. The Hague, The Netherlands. Online at, id.1023 (Jul 2015)
  5. "Prospects for High Energy Light Isotope Measurements on Balloons", Proceedings of the 34th International Cosmic Ray Conference (ICRC2015). 30 July - 6 August, 2015. The Hague, The Netherlands. Online at, id.682 (Jul 2015)
  6. "Limits on the Multi-TeV Cosmic Ray Electron Flux from CREST (Cosmic Ray Electron Synchrotron Telescope)", Proceedings of the 34th International Cosmic Ray Conference (ICRC2015). 30 July - 6 August, 2015. The Hague, The Netherlands. Online at, id.415 (Jul 2015)
  7. "TeV gamma-rays and the origin of cosmic rays", CENTENARY SYMPOSIUM 2012: DISCOVERY OF COSMIC RAYS. AIP Conference Proceedings, Volume 1516, pp. 131-135 (2013) (Feb 2013)
  8. "Measurement of Cosmic-Ray TeV Electrons", American Astronomical Society, HEAD meeting #12, #36.16 (Sep 2011)
  9. "Multiwavelength Study Of The Large Radio Feature SNR G106.3+2.7 Using SUZAKU, LAT , VERITAS And GBT", American Astronomical Society, HEAD meeting #12, #34.23 (Sep 2011)
  10. "Searching for TeV cosmic electrons with the CREST experiment", Nuclear Physics B Proceedings Supplements, Volume 215, Issue 1, p. 250-254 (Jun 2011)

Current & Future Visitors:
  1. Green Noah, Michigan
Past Visitors:
  1. Jordan Goodman, Maryland (2016)
  2. Andrew Smith, University of Maryland/NASA GSFC (2016)
  3. Henrike Fleischhack, DESY (2015)
  4. John Hewitt, CRESST/UMBC/NASA GSFC (2013)
  5. Luis Reyes, California Pol. State University San Luis Obispo (2012)
  6. Luis Reyes, California Polytechnic State University (2012)
  7. Ellen Zweibel, University of Wisconsin, Madison (2010)
  8. Joe Silk, University of Oxford (2008)