2015 Science & Technology Award Recipients

Science and Technology Awards are presented to recognize distinguished contributions to the science and technology objectives of the Laboratory over one or more years. The 2015 Science and Technology Award recipients are: 

Aleksey Bolotnikov • Nonproliferation & National Security Department 

Aleksey Bolotnikov enlarge

Aleksey Bolotnikov

Physicist Aleksey Bolotnikov of Brookhaven Lab’s Nonproliferation and National Security Department is considered one of the most innovative, productive members of the scientific community working in the area of solid-state gamma-ray detectors for national security and medical imaging. He has made several valuable experimental and modeling contributions to the field of high-resolution spectroscopy and imaging. 

Working principally with cadmium-zinc-telluride detectors, Aleksey has played a critical role in shaping the direction of that research around the globe. Using the National Synchrotron Light Source, he was the first scientist to recognize the importance of secondary phases and other defects that exist inside the semiconductor crystals used for making detectors. He not only advanced critical knowledge in the understanding of defects limiting device response, but has also been able to design new electrode configurations for the detectors that can overcome many of the material deficiencies, allowing for improved detector performance at a lower cost. 

Tom Butcher • Sustainable Energy Technologies Department 

Tom Butcher enlarge

Tom Butcher

The work of Senior Mechanical Engineer Tom Butcher—the science of oil- and wood-fired heating systems—has arguably had the greatest societal impact of all of Brookhaven Lab’s efforts in energy science and technology. His research in evaluating emissions from oil heating systems led to New York State passing legislation to switch to ultra-low sulfur heating oil, a standard eventually adopted across the nation. His cumulative work with manufacturers of oil-fired burners over many years has helped lead to an increase in annual fuel-use efficiency in the U.S. heating market from 60 to 80 percent, with an estimated savings of approximately $24 billion. 

More recently, Tom’s work on the efficiency and emissions from wood-fired boilers led to new test methods, now accepted by New York State's Department of Environmental Conservation and the federal Environmental Protection Agency, for advanced wood-fired boilers. He has also played a leadership role in identifying research and development needs for biodiesel—particularly for heating applications—as a pathway to more widespread adoption in transportation and other sectors. 

In an effort that has extended 40 years, Tom’s work has had enormous impact, and brought wide recognition to Brookhaven Lab. 

Timur Shaftan • National Synchrotron Light Source II 

Timur Shaftan enlarge

Timur Shaftan

Timur Shaftan is receiving this Science and Technology Award for two major achievements that have been instrumental in the successful, on-time, within-budget opening of Brookhaven Lab’s newest research facility, the National Synchrotron Light Source II (NSLS-II). He was directly involved in the successful design, construction, installation, testing, and commissioning of the NSLS-II booster and led the commissioning of the NSLS-II storage ring.

The booster accelerates electrons and injects them into the half-mile circumference NSLS-II storage ring, where they can be used to generate x-rays for research beamlines. Given very challenging space, timing, and budget constraints, Timur designed the compact booster using combined-function magnets and a novel laser-based scheme he invented for aligning them with precision. He also assumed responsibility for commissioning the NSLS-II storage ring, which achieved stored beam faster than any other synchrotron light source and quickly surpassed key performance parameters. This success is the result of Timur’s excellent knowledge of accelerator physics, his team leadership and guidance, and his enormous engagement and commitment. 

Flemming Videbaek • Physics Department 

Flemming Videbaek enlarge

Flemming Videbaek

Flemming Videbaek has had a distinguished career in the field of relativistic heavy ion collisions—the near-light speed collisions of the nuclei of heavy atoms such as gold that scientists use to explore the fundamental building blocks of visible matter and the strong nuclear force. He is receiving a Science and Technology Award for his leadership role in the construction and installation of the Heavy Flavor Tracker upgrade to the STAR experiment at the Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider (RHIC).

Flemming served as spokesperson of RHIC’s BRAHMS experiment, one of the original four RHIC detectors, from its conceptual design in 1991 through its contributions to RHIC’s discoveries of jet quenching and the strongly interacting, “perfect” liquid quark-gluon plasma. After joining STAR in 2008, he coordinated the multi-institutional effort to build and install a $15 million silicon detector—the first at a collider to use ultra-thin monolithic active pixel sensors—to track particles made of heavy quarks. He continues to improve the detector’s ability to reveal important insight into the properties of the quark-gluon plasma—a top research priority for RHIC.

Torre Wenaus • Physics Department 

Torre Wenaus enlarge

Torre Wenaus

Torre Wenaus is an internationally recognized leader in developing software and computing for high energy physics. He played an instrumental role in data analysis for the first run at the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) and continues to provide key innovations to the global collaboration that discovered the Higgs and now hunts for more exotic phenomena. 

Torre is receiving a Science and Technology Award for being a core developer of the Production and Data Analysis Workload Management System—known as PanDA—for the LHC’s ATLAS collaboration. The distributed computing infrastructure of PanDA allows for 30 million computing tasks to be processed each month by thousands of users at more than 100 sites across the globe. The visionary functionality of PanDA has now been ported to academia, commercial cloud computing, and leadership class supercomputing facilities in the United States, Asia, and Europe. 

Torre recently proposed, coded, and launched the event services (ES) package, which is a completely novel approach to efficiently process events by opportunistically exploiting brief openings on the cloud or within supercomputing cycles. The ES extension of PanDA will dramatically accelerate research and expand collaboration during the current LHC run. Torre’s work demonstrates an extremely high level of technical programming ability, deep knowledge of high energy physics computing, strong leadership skills, and profound dedication to the frontiers of science.

Meet all the Brookhaven Lab staff members recognized during the 2015 employee awards ceremony on July 23.

Tags: personnel

2015-5858  |  INT/EXT  |  Newsroom