Ben Babst has seen things that no one else has ever seen before. A plant biologist in Brookhaven Lab’s Biosciences Department, Babst is among a group of pioneering researchers studying plants using a technique called positron emission tomography (PET) imaging, which is more commonly used to diagnose cancer and study brain activity. With this innovative use of PET imaging technologies, Babst has actually watched plants shift nutrients from their leaves down to their roots while under attack by gypsy moth caterpillars — effectively safeguarding energy from the furry, leaf-chomping assailants. This research, along with Babst’s other investigations of transport and metabolism in plants, shows much promise toward enhancing plants’ abilities to make substances for biofuels that could someday power vehicles, homes, and industry.
PHENIX detector where Anuj Purwar studied
In addition to helping scientists peer into the very heart of matter, large-scale physics facilities like the Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider (RHIC) – Brookhaven’s “Big Bang” physics particle accelerator – play a significant role in training the next generation of world-class physicists. These scientists often make important contributions that fuel the economy, provide for security, and pave the way to a healthier, brighter future. Indeed, more than half the students who earn doctoral degrees in nuclear physics in the U.S. go on to work in fields as diverse as national security, medicine, energy generation, space exploration, finance, and more. Here are just two of their stories:
Anuj Purwar, who conducted research as a member of RHIC’s PHENIX collaboration to earn his Ph.D. in experimental nuclear physics, now applies the knowledge and skills to further R&D using radiation to treat cancer. His experience working with radiation detectors, linear accelerators, and nuclear physics at RHIC has helped him come up with innovative solutions to the problem of delivering high doses of ionizing radiation to cancerous tumors while minimizing collateral damage to normal tissues.
Monika Sharma worked on the state-of-the-art RHIC computing facility while she was at Brookhaven. Analyzing the large amounts of data from STAR and the other experiments provided her with a strong foundation for her move to a research associate position where she has worked with the data from the CMS detector, an experiment located at the Large Hadron Collider near Geneva, Switzerland.
As of 2012, more than 350 students have earned Ph.D.s based in part on their work at RHIC; hundreds more are in the pipeline.
The hunt for renewable energy sources sits at the heart of the Department of Energy’s mission, and therefore, is a very important part of Brookhaven’s mission. Finding renewable energy sources is part of a plan to improve national security, diminish adverse environmental impacts, and raise people’s quality of life. Equally critical to the generation of power is effective storage of that power for later use.
Esther Takeuchi, an electrochemist and one of the world’s leading energy storage researchers, joined Brookhaven in June under a joint appointment with Stony Brook University’s Department of Chemistry and Department of Materials Science and Engineering and our Global and Regional Solutions Directorate.
Takeuchi, a member of the National Inventors Hall of Fame and a recipient of the National Medal of Technology and Innovations, was recently selected as a Fellow of the Electrochemical Society. She received this latest honor for the invention of compact lithium batteries for use in implantable cardiac defibrillators and other life-saving medical breakthroughs. Her expertise in battery storage technology helps position the Lab for future innovative work and to advance projects that will move a vibrant, sustainable energy economy closer to reality.
The Lab will host a panel discussion titled “Stories from the Front: The Entrepreneurial Experience” on Monday, January 14, 2013 from 5 to 7:30 p.m
Brookhaven, in partnership with the Small Business Administration, Stony Brook University, and the NYS Small Business Development Center developed the Entrepreneurs’ Network and the Entrepreneurs’ Foundation Workshop Series to support entrepreneurs, scientists, and members of the business community interested in starting and growing technology companies
At the January 14 event, successful entrepreneurs will offer their insights into starting and building companies for growth, and will share experiences and inspiration from their start-up journeys
The program is open to the public. There is a $10 fee for advance online registration. To learn more and register, visit www.bnl.gov/efw. Registration at the door is $15. All visitors to the Lab 16 and older must bring a photo ID.
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*The events above are free and open to the public. Visitors 16 and over must bring a photo ID for access to BNL events.