Samuel D. McDermott


Research in physics and machine learning

View My GitHub Profile

Position and Background

I am permanent research staff at the University of Chicago and a member of the Deep Skies community of researchers. I use machine learning and numerical techniques to solve problems in cosmological and astrophysical data analysis.

Previously, I worked on particle phenomenology, focusing especially on the search for dark matter. I defended my PhD thesis at the University of Michigan as the student of Kathryn M. Zurek in April of 2014. For my final year in grad school, I was a theory student fellow at Fermilab, working with Dan Hooper and the particle group. I went on to a postdoc at the C. N. Yang Institute for Theoretical Physics at Stony Brook University on Long Island from 2014-2017. After that, and until 2022, I was the Schramm Fellow in the theoretical astrophysics group on the 6th floor at Fermilab. For undergrad I attended the University of Pennsylvania, where I was a member of the student radio station, WQHS.

My email address is formed by appending uchicago dot (or period) edu to sammcd, or by using my github handle and appending the domain for Google email.

PDF versions of my CV and resume are available upon request.

Current Research

I’m interested in machine learning and artificial intelligence, and how these novel techniques interact with other numerical methods like high-dimensional parameter inference or the wavelet decomposition. I am currently working on applying SBI methods to problems in CMB astrophysics, including the extraction of r and the characterization of SZ clusters.

My newest paper is

I’m excited to implement wavelet-based techniques in other settings!

Past Research

For over a decade, I studied particle physics with a number of excellent collaborators. I currently consider myself to be either retired or on sabbatical from particle physics, depending on the day.

Those publications are available here, or via my inSpire HEP page, where you can also see citation and publication analytics. Many are also available via my Google Scholar profile. And in case it matters to you, my ORCiD is 0000-0001-5513-1938.

Particles for Justice

I am very pleased to have collaborated with some extraordinary colleagues to craft calls for justice and dignity within physics via the ad hoc group Particles for Justice. Please see our wesbite for additional information on our calls and actions.


I have been interviewed in a number of popular publications, often based on a paper or series of papers: