Daine Danielson

2020 Hertz Fellow
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Daine Danielson envisions a world in which a global network of neutrino-based nuclear monitoring technologies is used to root out clandestine weapons manufacturing, reducing the threat of nuclear terrorism and war.

An Eckhardt Graduate Scholar in the Enrico Fermi Institute at the University of Chicago, Daine’s research explores the phenomenology of fundamental particles and fields, developing novel applications toward nuclear security and nonproliferation, and deepening our understanding of the natural world.

He began his research career while a junior in high school, building quantum-tunneling devices for Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. He has since produced results in the analysis of experimental sensitivities to the neutrino mass hierarchy, the prediction and first observation of variable quantum degeneracy in inertial confinement fusion, multiple first measurements of critical nuclear cross sections for neutrino physics, and the construction of multiple new detectors in particle physics. He also has pioneered new methods in nuclear nonproliferation.

Daine is the cofounder and chief architect of Whitekoat, Inc., a medical education platform powered by machine learning that helps students grasp medical concepts faster and easier. He holds a BS in computational physics with a minor in mathematics from the University of California, Davis.

He has authored articles in Nature Physics, Physical Review Letters, Physical Review D, and the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, among others. Daine was awarded Los Alamos National Laboratory’s Distinguished Student Award in 2018. In 2019, he received the US Department of Energy’s Innovations in Nuclear Technology R&D Award for his development of a new method for the remote detection of clandestine nuclear reactors using antineutrino emissions.

Daine grew up in San Francisco as the son of professional musicians. A prolific pianist and composer, he has trained in classical and improvisational piano since age four. At his company Whitekoat, he is known for nourishing a culture of mutual compassion, unrelenting inquiry, and gratitude as a foundational principle.

"My work is to detect the 'undetectable': the most subtle elementary particles known to exist. Through this I aim to make a safer world, by harnessing fundamental physics to expose hidden threats of nuclear war."
– Daine Danielson

Graduate Studies

University of Chicago

Undergraduate Studies

University of California, Davis


2019, Innovations in Nuclear Technology R&D Award, United States Department of Energy
2019, Poster Award, Fermilab
2018, Distinguished Student Award, Los Alamos National Laboratory
2017, Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Research Honorable Mention, University of California, Davis

Related News

May 20, 2020
The Fannie and John Hertz Foundation has announced the 2020 recipients of the Hertz Fellowship. This year’s fellowships will fund 16 researchers whose goals range from developing more effective drugs to advancing artificial intelligence to creating a carbon-neutral future.