Dr. Schmidt grew up in the small town of Aarau, Switzerland, and graduated from the same local high school that Albert Einstein did (90 years earlier).
After emigrating to the United States in 1995, she received her M.S in Applied Mathematics and Ph.D. in Engineering summa cum laude from the University of New Mexico. Her dissertation, Theoretical and Experimental Studies of the Emission of Electromagnetic Radiation by Superluminal Polarization Currents was nominated for the Tom L. Popejoy Dissertation Prize. Since 2004, she has worked at Los Alamos National Laboratory, most recently as Staff Engineer with a group dedicated to intelligence and space science. Her research focuses mainly – but not exclusively – on sources of electromagnetic radiation that move faster than light in a vacuum. Since these radiation sources are merely precisely timed patterns, they possess no mass and can, therefore, be animated to move arbitrarily fast without violating any laws of physics.
The presentation of a “tabletop pulsar”, intended to demonstrate that faster-than-light patterns called superluminal polarization currents might be responsible for the tightly focused radiation emanating from these rapidly spinning supernova remnants, caused quite a stir among the 3,500 participants at the 215th Meeting of the American Astronomical Society in 2010, leading to a press conference and briefs in a number of popular science magazines and news outlets.
More recently, in collaboration with John Singleton (who has joint appointments at Oxford University and at the National Magnet Lab facility of Los Alamos National Laboratory), and now also with Jaz Belz, a junior Physics major at Illinois Wesleyan University, Dr. Schmidt has been involved in the design, construction, and testing of antennas that employ superluminal polarization currents as emission mechanism. Dr. Schmidt's and Prof. Singleton's preliminary work in this area has already been honored with an R&D 100 Award (including two special recognition medals) in 2022.
In her spare time, she farms on three acres of land to the north of Los Alamos, taking a keen interest in all things agricultural, from releasing weevils to combat noxious weeds to the intricacies of water rights to the herd dynamics of feral cow populations.