Dr. Robert McTaggart is a native of Morgantown, WV. In 1989 he became one of the first two Goldwater Scholars ever at West Virginia University. He graduated with a B.S. in Physics and a B.S. in Mathematics and the Honors College in 1991.
After graduation he attended graduate school in Physics at Penn State, where he earned the Ph.D. in Physics in 1999. For his thesis he studied properties of a particle known as “Charmonium” at the Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory (FNAL). Charmonium is a bound state of a charm quark and an anti-charm quark that provides insight into the nature of the strong nuclear force that keeps nuclei together.
Between 1998 and 2004 he taught at several universities as a lecturer or a visiting assistant professor in Physics, including lecturing at West Virginia University.
Since 2004 Dr. McTaggart has taught at South Dakota State University (SDSU) in Brookings, South Dakota, and is now an Associate Professor of Physics. He teaches health physics, nuclear engineering, nuclear laboratory, and other courses as needed for the B.S. in Physics.
He currently supports experimental efforts to search for dark matter, neutrinoless double beta decay, and neutrino oscillation experiments at the Sanford Underground Research Facility (SURF), an underground physics laboratory just north of Mount Rushmore. He serves as the SDSU Coordinator of Nuclear Education, overseeing the 18-hour Minor in Nuclear Engineering that he helped establish. He recently served as President of the North Central Chapter of the Health Physics Society, which includes North Dakota, South Dakota, Iowa, Wisconsin, and Minnesota.
Dr. McTaggart was awarded a NASA Faculty Fellowship to work at the Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, AL for Summer 2016. He modeled the response of detectors to particle backgrounds seen in a space environment with the GEANT4 simulation toolkit.