BNL Timeline

A Walk Through History

Since its inception in 1947, Brookhaven Lab has been a leader in particle and nuclear physics experiments on site and around the globe. Those nearly 65 years of advances and breakthroughs have resulted in seven Nobel Prizes and insights into some of the most puzzling questions about matter and the universe, as well as discoveries in other scientific fields. In recognition of this work, the American Physical Society has named Brookhaven a historic site, a designation given to about 20 honorees since 2004. This is the first time an entire national laboratory has received the prestigious recognition. In the following timeline, take a walk through some of the Lab’s greatest physics accomplishments.

Connected by Science

In 1951, the American Physical Society (APS) appointed Brookhaven’s Physics Department Chair Sam Goudsmit as managing editor of Physical Review, and BNL physicist Simon Pasternack as assistant editor. The journal’s offices moved from Minnesota to Brookhaven, signaling the start of a deep connection between the Lab and APS that continues to this day.

In 1958, Goudsmit founded Physical Review Letters (PRL) as a separate “rapid publication” journal, which has since become one of the most prestigious journals in the physics field. The offices of both journals remained at Brookhaven until the needs for space both on the part of the journals and of the Lab became too pressing. At that time, a new APS building was constructed across the street, off William Floyd Parkway.