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About Brookhaven National Laboratory

Aerial view of BNL

Brookhaven National Laboratory (BNL) is one of the leading government research centers in the United States. Established in 1947 in Upton, New York, Brookhaven is a multi-program national laboratory operated by Brookhaven Science Associates (BSA) for the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Office of Science. The Lab is home to one of the world’s largest and most advanced particle accelerators for nuclear physics research, is constructing a brand-new synchrotron light source, and has produced work leading to key medical advances and diagnostic techniques. Seven Nobel Prizes have been awarded for discoveries made at the Lab. Brookhaven has a staff of approximately 3,000 scientists, engineers, technicians, and support staff members, and hosts more than 4,000 guest researchers annually.

BNL facilities

Nanomaterials Research                             Photon Sciences                                             Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider

Brookhaven's Mission

Brookhaven National Laboratory’s role for the DOE is to produce excellent science and advanced technology with the cooperation, support, and appropriate involvement of the scientific and local communities. The fundamental elements of the Laboratory's role in support of the four DOE strategic missions are the following:

  • To conceive, design, construct, and operate complex, leading-edge, user-oriented facilities in response to the needs of the DOE and the international community of users.
  • To carry out basic and applied research in long-term, high-risk programs at the frontier of science.
  • To develop advanced technologies that address national needs and to transfer them to other organizations and to the commercial sector.
  • To disseminate technical knowledge, to educate new generations of scientists and engineers, to maintain technical capabilities in the nation’s workforce, and to encourage scientific awareness in the general public.

Strategic Plan

The Lab’s current strategic plan consists of five major activities and four related opportunities with 12 core technical capabilities underpinning its research.

  • Major Activities – (1) Photon Sciences, (2) Quantum Chromodynamics (QCD) Matter, (3) 21st Century Energy Security, (4) Physics of the Universe, and (5) Climate, Environment, and BioSciences  
  • Related Opportunities – (1) Accelerator S&T, (2) Biological Imaging, (3) Homeland and National Security, (4) Computation  
  • Core Technical Capabilities – (1) Particle Physics, (2) Nuclear Physics, (3) Accelerator Science and Technology, (4) Condensed Matter Physics and Materials Science, (5) Chemical and Molecular Science, (6) Climate Change Science, (7) Biological Systems Science, (8) Applied Nuclear Science and Technology, (9) Applied Materials Science and Engineering, (10) Chemical Engineering, (11) Systems Engineering and Integration, and (12) Large-scale User Facilities/Advanced Instrumentation

Brookhaven has a long history in continually advancing its research capabilities, including the recent development of the National Synchrotron Light Source II (NSLS-II), Interdisciplinary Science Building, Electron Beam Ion Source, and Long Island Solar Farm.  

NSLS-II is expected to be commissioned in 2014, a year ahead of schedule. It is a state-of-the-art research facility that will provide scientists with intense beams of X-ray, ultraviolet, and infrared light for basic and applied research in biology and medicine; materials and chemical sciences; geosciences and environmental sciences; and energy and nanoscience.  

BNL will pursue the evolution and continued scientific leadership of the Lab’s user facilities — the NSLS and successor NSLS-II, Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider (RHIC), and Center for Functional Nanomaterials (CFN).