Patricia Rankin Portrait
Professor Emerita

Research Interests

Patricia Rankin  did both her undergraduate and her graduate work at Imperial College, London. As an undergraduate student, she was awarded the “Governor’s Prize” for graduating first in her year in Physics. In 1988 she became an Assistant Professor of Physics at the University of Colorado and the only women on the Physics faculty at the time. She was a recipient of both a Sloan Fellowship and a Department of Energy Outstanding Junior Investigator Award. She was awarded tenure in 1995. She then chose to work for two years in Washington D.C. as a program officer for particle physics at the National Science Foundation. Returning to Boulder she was promoted to Full Professor.  Her research interests have shifted over the years from experimental particle physics (including precision measurements as tests of the Standard Model and studies of heavy quark physics with a focus on understanding the symmetries of nature) to ways to address the lack of representation of women in STEM fields and especially in leadership positions. She was PI of the CU Boulder NSF ADVANCE Institutional Transformation Grant and has studied how participation in networks affects success in academia. She is also interested in effective decision making and how best to spread scientific literacy.

She has served in a variety of administrative roles including as director of a residential academic program in the natural sciences, as Associate Dean for the Natural Sciences, as Associate Vice Chancellor for Faculty Development and Diversity, and as Senior Associate Vice Chancellor for Research before returning to the faculty. She plans to use what she has learnt and concentrate on the recruitment, retention, and professional development, of STEM students, postdoctoral researchers, and faculty members, establishing a program in science management on campus. She is planning to pilot a professional skills course in 2018. She has recently co-authored a review of evidence-based research, underlying theories, and interventions related to women’s representation in the STEM workforce (here).  


She is a recipient of the Elizabeth Gee, the “Best Shall Teach”, and the “Excellence in Leadership” awards among others recognizing her contributions to interdisciplinary research and to the University of Colorado at Boulder. She is the 2017 Chair of the APS Committee on the Status of Women in Physics.

Publications related to promoting women in science and engineering

1) Why Women Aren’t Where They Are Needed in the Workforce: Putting the Pieces Together. Patricia Rankin and Donna Caccamise. The Sasakawa Peace Foundation Expert Reviews Series on Advancing Women’s Enpowerment,2017 (link).

2) Vital Variables and Gender Equity in Academe: Confessions from a Feminist Empiricist Project, Joyce Nielsen, Robyn Marschke, Elisabeth Sheff, and Patricia Rankin, SIGNS Vol 31(Autumn 2005)1-28.

3) Demographic Inertia Revisited: An Immodest Proposal to Achieve Equitable Gender Representation among Faculty in Higher Education, Robyn Marshke, Sandra Laursen, Joyce Neilsen and Patricia Rankin. Journal of Higher Education 78(1), 1-26 (2008)

4) “Weak Links, Hot Networks, and Tacit Knowledge – Why Advancing Women Requires Networking”, Particia Rankin, Joyce Neilsen, and Dawn Williams, invited contribution to “Transforming Science and Engineering:Advancing Academic Women”, edited by A. J. Stewart, J.E. Malley and D. LaVaque-Manty (2007) University of Michigan Press.

Selected Publications on Particle Physics

1) The 3081/E Processor and its on-line use, P. Rankin, et al. Chicago Computing Applications (1985)1321

2) Radiative corrections at the SLC/LEP, P. Rankin, COLO-HEP-203, A contribution to the proceedings of the Michigan workshop on QED structure functions, Michigan, USA, 1989.

3) A Search for CP violation in D Decay, J. Bartelt et al. (CLEO II collaboration) Phys. Rev. D 52(1995)4860-4867.

4) Physics rationale for a B-factory, CESR-B Physics Working Group (K. Lingel, et al.).

5) BaBar Technical Design Report, D. Boutigny BaBar Collaboration, SLAC-R-95-451.

6) The BaBar Physics Book, P.F. Harrison and H. Quinn, editors, SLAC-R-504 (October 1998).

7) Physics at the U(4s), P. Rankin, A contribution to the proceedings of the International School of Physics ``Enrico Fermi'', Varenna, Italy 1998.

8) The Importance of Flavor Physics, P. Rankin, Proceedings of the 2002 Hampton University Graduate School (HUGS) Summer School

Text Book

Introduction to Vibrations and Waves (Wiley, 2015) by H.J. Pain and Patricia Rankin