Jen-Chieh Peng

Jen-Chieh Peng
Jen-Chieh Peng
  • Research Professor
  • Professor Emeritus
(217) 244-6039
409 Loomis Laboratory


  • Ph.D., Nuclear Physics University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA, 1975


Professor Peng received his bachelor's degree in physics from Tunghai University in Taiwan in 1970 and his Ph.D. in nuclear physics from the University of Pittsburgh in 1975. He worked as a researcher at the Centre d'Etudes Nucleaires de Saclay and the University of Pittsburgh before joining the Physics Division of Los Alamos National Laboratory in 1978. He became a Laboratory Fellow at Los Alamos in 1996. Professor Peng joined the Department of Physics at the University of Illinois in February 2002.

At Los Alamos, Professor Peng made pioneering contributions to several areas of medium energy physics. He was the first to recognize the feasibility of producing η mesons at the Los Alamos Meson Physics Facility (LAMPF) and made the first (π,η) measurements on nuclei. In the early 1980s, Professor Peng proposed the (π+,K+) measurements at Brookhaven National Laboratory's Alternating Gradient Synchrotron (AGS) accelerator, which ultimately identified single-particle states of lambda hypernuclei. Since the late 1980s, Professor Peng has made seminal contributions to high-energy nuclear physics in a series of experiments at Fermilab (E772, E789E866, and E906), which pioneered the use of massive lepton pair production to probe the distributions of antiquarks in the nucleons and nuclei. Professor Peng initiated a program at the Jefferson Laboratory to measure the novel transverse momentum dependent parton distribution (TMDs). His group at UIUC also demonstrated the feasibility of the dressed-spin technique for an experiment to search for neutron electric dipole moment. He was a founding member of the Daya Bay Neutrinos Oscillation experiment which discovered the neutrino mixing angle θ13 in 2012. Professor Peng was the spokesperson or co-spokesperson for ~ 10 experiments carried out at various accelerator facilities. He also served as the president of Overseas Chinese Physics Association (OCPA) and as a member of the Program Advisory Committees at the Jefferson Laboratory, the Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider (RHIC) at the Brookhaven National Laboratory, the Japan Proton Accelerator Research Complex (J-PARC), and the Institute of Physics of Academia Sinica in Taiwan.

Professor Peng became a Fellow of the American Physical Society in 1993, and a Laboratory Fellow of Los Alamos National Laboratory in 1996. He is a co-recipient of the 2016 Breakthrough Prize in Fundamental Physics for the observation of neutrino oscillation in the Daya Bay experiment. He received the Distinguished Alumni Award from Tunghai University in 2020, and he was named a Yu-Shan Scholar in Taiwan in 2020. Professor Peng was elected an Academician of Academia Sinica in 2022. He is the recipient of the 2023 Tom W. Bonner Prize in Nuclear Physics of the American Physical Society. A list of his publications can be found at

Research Statement

Daya Bay Neutrino Experiment The UIUC group has been a member of the Daya Bay Collaboration since the experiment was proposed in 2006. Using eight identically designed 20-ton detectors located at three underground experimental halls, antineutrinos from three pairs of reactor cores are detected. The UIUC group contributed to the R&D, testing, and commissioning of the Daya Bay PMT system. In March 2012, the Daya Bay experiment observed clear neutrino oscillation signals and announced the discovery of the neutrino mixing angle θ13. The UIUC group has made significant contributions to the precise extraction of the mixing angle θ13 and the mass-squared difference, |Δ m2|. It has also led the effort to search for light sterile neutrinos. The Daya Bay experiment has completed data-taking in December 2020. SeaQuest Experiment at Fermilab The SeaQuest experiment at Fermilab measures high-mass dileptons to explore the antiquark structure of the nucleon and nuclei via the Drell-Yan process. The 120 GeV proton beam from the Main Injectorat Fermilab and a newly constructed dilepton spectrometer are utilized for this experiment. The major physics goals of the SeaQuest experiment include the investigation of the flavor asymmetry of the antiquarks in the proton, and the modification of antiquarks in the nuclei. SeaQuest completed data-taking in 2017, and the first physics results have appeared in Nature 590, 561 (2021).

Selected Articles in Journals

Research Honors

  • 2023 Tom W. Bonner Prize in Nuclear Physics of the American Physical Society
  • elected an Academician of the Academia Sinica, Division of Mathematics and Physical Sciences, Taipei, Taiwan, 2022
  • Yu-Shan Scholar, Ministry of Education, Taiwan, 2020
  • Distinguished Alumni, Tunghai University, 2020
  • Breakthrough Prize, 2016
  • Distinguished Visiting Fellow, Academia Sinica, 2015
  • Fellow, Japan Society for the Promotion of Science, 2000
  • Fellow, Los Alamos National Laboratory, 1996
  • Fellow, American Physical Society, 1993

Recent Courses Taught

  • PHYS 212 - University Physics: Elec & Mag
  • PHYS 470 (PHYS 570) - Subatomic Physics
  • PHYS 598 NEU - Special Topics in Physics

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