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Targeting Cancer With Heavy Ions

symposium participants

Participants in a symposium and press briefing exploring the latest advances and challenges in particle therapy for cancer at the 2014 AAAS meeting: Eric Colby (U.S. Department of Energy), Jim Deye (National Cancer Institute), Hak Choy (University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center), Kathryn Held (Harvard Medical School and Massachusetts General Hospital), Stephen Peggs (Brookhaven National Laboratory and Stony Brook University), and Ken Peach (Oxford University). (Credit: AAAS)

The Lab’s Media & Communications Office recently organized a symposium titled “Targeting Tumors: Ion Beam Accelerators Take Aim at Cancer” at the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) meeting in Chicago, Illinois. The annual AAAS meeting is the largest scientific gathering of its kind in the world, attracting more than 5,000 scientists, science journalists, and members of the public. 

Symposium speakers included Brookhaven Lab physicist Steve Peggs, who is also an adjunct professor at Stony Brook University, and representatives from the National Cancer Institute, the Department of Energy, and others. They described how advances in accelerators built for fundamental physics research over the past 50 years have inspired improved cancer treatments and explained the benefits and challenges in using proton and carbon ion beams to destroy cancer cells while leaving normal tissue unharmed.

The speakers also described the state of basic and clinical research in the field including some very encouraging results coming out of carbon treatment facilities in Europe and Asia, as well as  the funding challenges related to building a carbon ion treatment facility in the U.S. They emphasized the importance of radiobiology research in advancing these techniques, and the important role the NASA Space Radiation Laboratory at Brookhaven plays as the only U.S. facility capable of conducting this type of research using heavy ions.

To learn more visit:

2014-4734  |  INT/EXT  |  Media & Communications Office

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Advanced Heating Technologies Show Potential

Tom Butcher, Rebecca Trojanowski and Chris Brown

Tom Butcher, right, and team members Rebecca Trojanowski and Chris Brown examine a length of the fin-tube heat exchanger the team will study.

The New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) recently selected several Brookhaven Lab projects aimed to develop advanced technologies for more energy-efficient buildings. Tom Butcher and his Energy Conversion Group from Brookhaven Lab’s Sustainable Energy Technologies Department will collaborate with Stony Brook University and several private companies on this work.
“In the interest of getting to higher efficiency levels in heating systems, water temperatures are getting colder, making boilers more efficient in the steady state and also reducing their idle losses,” Butcher said. 

In the past, he explained, heating systems were designed based on 180 degree water temperature. To increase efficiency, that’s being reduced to as low as 120 degrees depending on weather conditions. The common, inexpensive baseboard radiator is widely used across the United States, but has a problem being compatible with this practice because energy output falls off very strongly as the water temperature decreases. Butcher’s team aims to improve the low temperature performance of baseboard radiators by supplementing the buoyancy-driven flow with a forced convection flow.

In another heating systems project, Brookhaven Lab collaborators will work to develop a low-cost, corrosion-resistant heat exchanger for a high-efficiency steam boiler using thermally conducted polymers. “As these systems get higher in efficiency, they reduce the exhaust gas temperature. The condensate that’s formed is corrosive because of the acids associated with the combustion process,” Butcher said. “That leads to the use of more expensive alloys for those heat exchanger materials. We’d like to eliminate or reduce that high cost through the use of polymer heat exchangers. Polymers for heat exchangers traditionally have low thermal conductivity. To overcome that, we’re interested in the use of filler materials, including nanomaterials, to increase the conductivity of the polymers.”

To learn more about these projects visit:

2014-4735  |  INT/EXT  |  Media & Communications Office

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BNL LSST Team Engineer Receives Award

Justine Haupt

Design Engineer Justine Haupt is pictured in front of the cryostat she designed for testing LSST's electro-optic sensor modules. She is holding one of the compact front-end electronic assemblies that will enable the camera to be read out at a remarkable 1.5 billion pixels per second.

Design Engineer Justine Haupt of the Instrumentation Division has received the 2014 Rising Engineering Star award from Mouser Electronics and Design News for her “impressive range of excellence.” Haupt is part of the Brookhaven team helping to build the Large Synoptic Survey Telescope (LSST) which will be the world’s largest digital camera aimed at capturing distant celestial objects. She designs and builds prototypes for the LSST. Working on the project over the past four years, she has constructed more than two dozen pieces of equipment, ranging from custom lens systems to a high-tech motor, and developed methods to streamline testing of the LSST’s focal plane components.

When completed, the LSST will be the widest, fastest, deepest eye of the new digital age. This remarkable telescope, to be stationed on a mountaintop in Chile, promises to cast light on mysteries fundamental to our understanding of the universe. It will scan the sky rapidly and chart objects that change or move, including exploding supernovae and potentially hazardous near-Earth asteroids. LSST’s images will trace billions of remote galaxies allowing scientists to probe mysterious dark matter and dark energy. Its uniquely wide field of view will allow LSST to observe large areas of the sky at once and move quickly between images. It will be able to take more than 800 panoramic images each night and cover the entire sky twice a week. And that is just a brief description. The LSST is fascinating—and Brookhaven Lab is playing a big role in the project.  

Learn more about the LSST and the team visit:

2014-4736  |  INT/EXT  |  Media & Communications Office

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  • April 9 – Noon recital. Pianist Di Wu will perform a French program with works by Debussy, Ravel, and a Liszt transcription of Gounod’s opera, Faust. Berkner Hall Auditorium.
  • April 10 – Community Advisory Council meeting, 6:30 PM. Berkner Hall, Room B.
  • April 16 – Brookhaven Lecture, "Understanding and controlling nanoscale variations within solar cells for new and improved devices," presented by Matthew Eisaman, Sustainable Energy Technologies. 4 PM. Berkner Hall Auditorium.
  • April 30 – BSA Distinguished Lecture, “Life Redesigned: The Emergence of Synthetic Biology” presented by Professor James Collins of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Boston University. 4 PM. Berkner Hall Auditorium.

*The events listed above are free and open to the public. Visitors 16 and older must bring a photo ID for access to BNL events.

2014-4737  |  INT/EXT  |  Media & Communications Office