Meet the 2022 Science & Technology Award Recipients

By Hailey Hamilton

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Science & Technology Awards are presented to recognize distinguished contributions to the Laboratory's science and technology objectives. The 2022 recipients are:

Anibal Boscoboinik, Center for Functional Nanomaterials

Anibal Boscoboinik has the ability and skills to pull many pieces together: novel synthesis, characterization, understanding, and translation to technology. He is one among a small number of scientists worldwide who can synthesize the nanoporous 2D materials that are the focus of his studies.

After his curiosity and creativity led him to the unexpected finding that these materials can trap noble gases, he developed an understanding of fundamental chemical interactions in that process. He has since developed a framework and built partnerships for translating this discovery to real-world impact in nuclear medicine and nuclear reactor technology.

Boscoboinik's achievements benefit Brookhaven National Laboratory in two ways. His advances in instrumentation for in-situ characterization of surfaces have expanded the Center for Functional Nanomaterials' (CFN) community of external users, including leading groups from top institutions. His research creativity and strong engagement with the scientific community have created new collaborations in the United States and abroad, which has led to new experiments at both CFN and National Synchrotron Light Source II as well as new partnerships in multi-institutional U.S. Department of Energy initiatives.

Cathy Sue Cutler, Isotope Research and Production Department

Cathy Sue Cutler is a visionary scientist and leader in her field, who has developed and produced lifesaving radiopharmaceuticals. She has shown outstanding versatility and achievement throughout her career, working on projects that require knowledge in her areas of expertise as well as neighboring disciplines.

Cutler’s work has been internationally recognized for high-quality science and creativity. Cutler has developed analytical chemistry techniques to isolate, purify, and characterize radioisotopes and pharmaceuticals. She has authored and coauthored more than 100 peer-reviewed publications, covering radionuclide production, separation, and application. She pioneered and promoted the therapeutic uses of lanthanide radioisotopes.

Cutler is a leader in developing theranostics—the use of different isotopes of the same element for diagnostic imaging and therapy—and was elected president of the Society of Nuclear Medicine and Molecular Imaging.

Thanks in large part to Cutler's work, Brookhaven National Laboratory continues its role as a premier U.S. Department of Energy lab for accelerator-based isotope production.

Swagato Mukherjee, Physics Department

Swagato Mukherjee is a high caliber physicist and gifted leader, whose achievements are important to physics research at the Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider at Brookhaven National Laboratory.

Mukherjee contributed studies of the properties of quantum chromodynamics (QCD) matter at non-zero baryon density. This resulted in several high impact publications, which have over 300 citations each.

Mukherjee showed strong leadership in the Beam Energy Scan Theory (BEST) topical collaboration in nuclear theory, which was well recognized by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE).

Mukherjee is co-principal investigator of the Nuclear Physics SciDAC-4 group's project "Computing the Properties of Matter with Leadership Computing Resources." This group was successful with proposals to obtain allocations from two of the DOE’s Office of Science programs: Innovative and Novel Computational Impact on Theory and Experiment (INCITE) and Advanced Scientific Computing Research (ASCR) Leadership Computing Challenge (ALCC). This required coordination among several large heavy ion theory groups across the United States, a vision, and broad knowledge of the field.

The breadth of Mukherjee's scientific activities is outstanding and unprecedented.

Xin Qian, Physics Department

Xin Qian invented and developed Wire-Cell, a package of simulation and reconstruction algorithms for true 3D tomographic reconstruction techniques for multi-kiloton liquid argon time projection chambers in neutrino detectors. This technology helped position Brookhaven National Laboratory at the center of event reconstruction for both the Short Baseline Neutrino (SBN) program and the Deep Underground Neutrino Experiment (DUNE) detector.

Persistent and driven, Qian moved Wire-Cell from an innovative idea to a working reconstruction suite that has demonstrated outstanding performance compared to previous techniques. Wire-Cell’s extraordinary success in MicroBooNE confirmed Qian’s vision of 3D tomography's ability to reconstruct millimeter-scale neutrino interaction vertices over the 100-meter scale of the DUNE detectors.

Providing a large increase in the efficiency of reconstructing neutrino events is a truly remarkable achievement. Qian led the development of many tools to use the 3D space points for 3D pattern recognition, neutrino identification, background rejection, generic neutrino detection, and neutrino event selection.

Qian's work has become critical for DUNE and the U.S. High Energy Physics program.

Mourad Idir, Lei Huang, Tianyi Wang, and Yi Zhu of the National Synchrotron Light Source II

Mourad Idir and teammates Lei Huang, Tianyi Wang, and Yi Zhu developed an alternative approach to produce diffraction-limited hard x-ray mirrors. This technique, called ion beam figuring (IBF), uses a beam of ions to carefully remove material from a mirror's surface. The technique is not new, but this group is the first to demonstrate its use in fabricating diffraction-limited x-ray mirrors.

With a kickstart from Laboratory-directed research and development (LDRD) funding, Idir and his team designed, built, and tested an ion beam figuring chamber, coupled with a cutting-edge optical metrology instrument needed to measure the mirror surface. They also developed new key algorithms that take metrology data to derive the ion beam trajectory and speed for ultra-precise specifications.

Previously, only one vendor abroad could produce these mirrors. Each typically costs more than $100,000 and delivery times are often one to two years. The process Mourad and his team developed reduces the cost 10-20 times and reduces delivery times to approximately one month. This benefits research directly while creating a new domestic capability, relieving supply chain concerns and helping the United States remain a leader in the x-ray field.

Meet all the staff members at Brookhaven Lab who were recognized for distinguished contributions to the Laboratory's mission in 2022.

2023-21600  |  INT/EXT  |  Newsroom