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Regents’ Medal for Excellence in Research

Research Medal Award Winner

Stephen Olsen, headshot

Stephen Olsen
High energy physics

Stephen Olsen has been in the forefront of research in high energy physics involving electron-positron collisions for more than 20 years. He led teams at KEK, the National Laboratory for High Energy Physics in Japan. He excels not only as a researcher, but also as a project leader and administrative coordinator.

Olsen’s research concerns the study of matter-antimatter asymmetries in nature, one of the major areas of inquiry in particle physics. The goal is to understand how the current, matter-dominated universe could have evolved from the Big-Bang.

Olsen and his colleagues realized that accelerator and detection technology had advanced to where sufficient numbers of particles containing beauty quarks could be produced to do definitive experiments. They convinced KEK to build an appropriate accelerator. At the same time, Olsen convinced research groups to collaborate on the construction of a detector called the Belle experiment. Olsen was than elected co-leader of the Belle collaboration, a position he’s held ever since.

In 1999 Olsen spent a sabbatical year at KEK helping commission the new accelerator and detector. The central issue was to develop date processing algorithms to isolate events of interest with sufficient purity and high efficiency. Olsen developed novel techniques vital to the success of the experiment. He participated in the synthesis of the results and wrote the journal article that described the work.

During summer 2001 the Belle group made the first observation of matter-antimatter asymmetries among particles containing beauty quarks. It was the first observation after nearly 40 years of searches. The Belle collaboration involved 250 researchers from 10 countries. The group selected Olsen to present the results at an international symposium in Rome.

Olsen’s published papers and their impact on the field of high energy physics are integral to attracting more than $2 million per year from the U.S. Department of Energy to the UH High Energy Physics Group. His leadership can be credited for much of the group’s collective success.

The Regents’ Medal for Excellence in Research is awarded by the Board of Regents in recognition of scholarly contributions that expand the boundaries of knowledge and enrich the lives of students and the community. The board also awards the Regents’ Medal for Excellence in Teaching.

Select a recipient for more about that individual.

Current awardees and links to archives.


Milton Garces, headshot
Milton Garces
Geophysics and planetology
Albert Kim, headshot
Albert Kim
Civil and environmental engineering
Tobias Owen, headshot
Tobias Owen


Bruce Chorpita, headshot
Bruce Chorpita
Ho-min Sohn, headshot
Ho-min Sohn
Korean language
Paul Lucey, headshot
Paul Lucey
Geophysics and planetology


Alexander Krot, headshot
Alexander Krot
Geophysics and planetology
John L. Tonry, headshot
John L. Tonry


Andrew Harris, headshot
Andrew Harris
Laurence N. Kolonel, headshot
Laurence N. Kolonel
Cancer epidemiology
James B. Nation, headshot
James B. Nation


Margaret McFall-Ngai, headshot
Margaret McFall-Ngai
Marine organisms
Stephen Olsen, headshot
Stephen Olsen
High energy physics
 Edward Ruby, headshot
Edward Ruby
Marine organisms