Naperville North alumna makes Forbes 30 Under 30 list

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A lifelong love of science and commitment to physics helped land Naperville North High School alumna Cari Cesarotti on the North America Forbes 30 Under 30 list for 2024. 

Sharing the news with her family

It was news she was excited to share with her loved ones.

“My grandparents were like, oh we’ve got to find the magazine, so all that stuff is very sweet to see,” said Cesarotti.

Who is Cari Cesarotti?

After graduating from Naperville North, Cesarotti went to Cornell University where she was one of 15 U.S. undergrads selected to research at CERN Laboratory in Geneva, Switzerland. Cesarotti would later earn a Ph.D. at Harvard in Theoretical High Energy Physics.

She is currently a postdoctoral researcher at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), where she is researching a multi-TeV muon collider. This machine could potentially present information about the early universe.

“So if we want to understand how the universe came to be the way it is, by doing this colliding stuff at very high energies, we’re kind of going back in time to see what the universe looked like at the stages of its formation,” said Cesarotti.

Her work also involves a lot of writing, calculations, conferences, and hypotheses.

“So the actual meat of the work that I do is either understanding what’s an interesting question to ask and then actually going through the process of finding some way to quantify how you could answer that question,” said Cesarotti.

It all started at Naperville North High School

Her time at Naperville North was where she learned to love the endless learning nature of science.

“Every time you’re able to do something and there’s a result that you could take and then predict something else, and then that prediction comes true, to me, that’s what’s super exciting,” said Cesarotti.

She views her achievements in a similar way.

“You should never see life like, I did it, I’ve done. It’s like you always do something because you hope the next part is going to be great too,” said Cesarotti.

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