60 Years of Discovery

The U.S. Department of Energy’s Brookhaven National Laboratory enters its seventh decade of science fueled by a passion for discovery that is stronger than ever. Through the years, Lab scientists plus thousands from around the world have used Brookhaven’s unique facilities — including one-of-a-kind accelerators, research reactors, computers, and microscopes — to delve into the basic mysteries of physics, chemistry, materials science, and biology. This anniversary web site offers a glimpse at the spectrum of this research, looking back and looking forward.

Founding a Laboratory for Peacetime Research

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 science facility, and they chose a surplus army base “way out on Long Island” as the site. Thus, Brookhaven National Laboratory was born. On March 21, 1947, the U.S. War Department transferred the site of Camp Upton on Long Island to the U.S. Atomic Energy Commission (AEC), predecessor to the present U.S. Department of Energy (DOE). The AEC provided the initial funding for Brookhaven’s research into the peaceful uses of the atom, with the goal of improving public well-being.

Camp Upton -> BNL

Camp Upton became Brookhaven National Laboratory in 1947

Brookhaven Lab was conceived to promote basic research in the physical, chemical, biological and engineering aspects of the atomic sciences. 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. The Laboratory was also to resemble a university to the greatest extent possible.

Anniversary Symposium

See videos of the October 19, 2007 Anniversary Symposium.

BNL 60

Today's BNLers

Who are the people that work at BNL? Meet some of the current faces at the Lab.

Today's BNLers

Steinberg Blog

On May 1, 2007 BNL staff formed a the human 'B-N-L 6-0' See the slide show.

BNL 60

Which Brookhaven Director was asked by the President of the United States to become head of the National Science Foundation? Find out in the Directors Timeline