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Accelerators and High-tech Workforce Education

CASE participants

The Center for Accelerator Science and Education (CASE) helps to build America's future high-tech workforce. Here high-school students and teachers participating in a CASE workshop visit the RHIC accelerator tunnel

Training the World's Top Talent

Even before the Center for Accelerator Science and Education (CASE) existed, leading accelerator scientists graduated from Stony Brook University with help from mentors at Brookhaven National Laboratory. Now, CASE, a unique joint university-laboratory graduate and post-graduate program focused on the development of the next crop of accelerator scientists and engineers, promises to train even more.

With its history of building world-class accelerators and its proximity to Stony Brook, Brookhaven is an ideal location for burgeoning accelerator physicists and engineers to study and train. Brookhaven has 25 operating accelerators, including the Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider, the National Synchrotron Light Source (NSLS), and the soon-to-be-completed NSLS-II.

Accelerators are devices that speed up charged particles through the use of electric and magnetic fields, creating a focused beam of particles. These devices are used in a variety of scientific disciplines, ranging from the study of the interactions of accelerated particles themselves as they are accelerated to relativistic speeds and collided, to the use of the intense light energy the accelerator produces as a byproduct to view microscopic structures, such as happens every day at Brookhaven’s NSLS.

Similarly, the science of designing and building accelerators encompasses a broad spectrum of academic disciplines, including classical physics, surface science, materials science, superconductivity, advanced computational techniques, laser science, plasma physics, and mechanical and electrical engineering.

With a degree in accelerator science, students will be well prepared to find work in a dynamic and varied technical field ripe with job prospects.

There are approximately 30,000 accelerators worldwide. Of these accelerators, only one percent is used in basic nuclear and particle physics research. Accelerators have become critical to a variety of fields, including radiotherapy, medical imaging, biomedical research and radioisotope production, and widespread commercial use, evidenced by the $3.5 billion per year in the sales of accelerator-related goods.

There is a clear national need for accelerator scientists to service all of these areas.

Established in 2009, CASE also aims to bring federal and industrial funding for the expansion of accelerator-centric interdisciplinary research and educational programs. A focal point of CASE’s present accelerator R&D program is the incorporation of state-of-the-art science and engineering and interdisciplinary university R&D with that of Brookhaven. This will be achieved through a few projects, including:

  • Use of laser acceleration of protons and ions in radiation therapy
  • Energy recovery linear accelerator research and development, with a special focus on electron-ion colliders and x-ray free electron lasers
  • Development of advanced beam cooling techniques aimed at increasing collider collision rates and the polarization of proton beams
  • Design and construction of a cutting-edge hadron therapy accelerator facility for the treatment of cancers