Karen Byrum

Senior Associate, KICP
Physicist, Argonne National Laboratory

Karen Byrum
Argonne National Laboratory
(630) 252-6217


Byrum received her PhD in Physics from the University of Wisconsin in Madison in 1992 and was a postdoctoral fellow at Argonne on the Collider Detector Facility at Fermilab prior to joining the staff at Argonne in 1995.


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 currently involved with the Mu2e project at Fermilab where she holds the position of electronics integration team leader and is part of the Argonne Cosmic Ray Veto system group. She has been a member of the South Pole Telescope (SPT) team, which is using the SPT to determine the fundamental properties of the universe. She 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 led Argonne’s Cosmic Frontier Experimental group from 2008-2017.  She was the leader of the VERITAS (Very Energetic Radiation Imaging Telescope Array System) team from 2007-2016VERITAS 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. She also led Argonne’s Cherenkov Telescope Array (CTA) group where the Argonne group led the mechanical designs for multiple CTA prototype telescopes. Byrum was a founding member of the Large Area Picosecond Photodetector (LAPPD) group.