2012 marks the 65th year since Brookhaven National Laboratory’s founding. Established for peacetime research, Brookhaven has a history of outstanding scientific achievement in the fields of physics, chemistry, materials science, biology, and more.
In 1946, representatives from nine major eastern universities — Columbia, Cornell, Harvard, Johns Hopkins, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Princeton, University of Pennsylvania, University of Rochester, and Yale — formed a nonprofit corporation to establish a new nuclear-science facility to find peaceful applications for what was then being learned about the nucleus of the atom. They chose a surplus army base “way out on Long Island” as the site. On March 21, 1947, the U.S. War Department transferred the site of Camp Upton to the U.S. Atomic Energy Commission (AEC), which was a predecessor to the present U.S. Department of Energy (DOE). The AEC provided the initial funding for research, with the goal of improving public well-being.
The Lab was conceived primarily to conduct basic research. However, an equally important concept was the establishment of a national laboratory in the Northeast to design, construct, and operate large scientific machines that individual institutions could not afford to develop on their own. Over the years, Brookhaven has been home to numerous one-of-a-kind particle accelerators such as the Cosmotron, the Alternating Gradient Synchrotron, the Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider (RHIC), the National Synchrotron Light Source (NSLS), and soon, the NSLS-II, as well as many other amazing research machines.
Today, Brookhaven Lab is one of 10 national laboratories that are part of DOE’s Office of Science, which provides the majority of the Laboratory’s research dollars and direction. DOE oversees much of the science research in the United States through its Office of Science.
Brookhaven’s world-class research facilities and scientific departments attract resident and visiting scientists in many fields. This outstanding mix of machine- and mind-power has on seven occasions produced research deemed worthy of the greatest honor in science: the Nobel Prize.
Brookhaven has connections to nine additional Nobel Prizes awarded to others who at one time were at Brookhaven. Whether as summer students, visiting scientists, or special guests, the eventual Nobel Laureates spent time at Brookhaven and contributed to our vast scientific expertise through collaboration, training, and the sharing of ideas.
An 18FDG brain scan.
Brookhaven has been one of the world’s leading research institutions for more than 60 years. Much of the science at Brookhaven is dedicated to understanding the basic nature of matter, including subatomic particles and the structure of the atom, and has led to extraordinarily useful applications. Here are just a very few examples of our discoveries, developments, inventions, and innovations:
The vision for Brookhaven moving forward is to be the “provider of choice” for world-class science and facilities in support of DOE’s Office of Science and its mission to enable breakthroughs that ensure a successful future for our nation. This means achieving excellence in all aspects of our work – science, operations, community and stakeholder relations, and more.
In the coming decade, our focus will be on three broad areas: advancing fundamental research in nuclear and particle physics to gain a deeper understanding of matter, energy, space, and time; applying the tools at our Light Sources and Center for Functional Nanomaterials to explore and find solutions to energy challenges; and performing cross-disciplinary research to understand the relationship between climate change, sustainable energy, and Earth’s ecosystems.
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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.