October 22, 2012
2012 marks the 65th year since Brookhaven National Laboratory’s founding. Established for peacetime research, Brookhaven has a history of outstanding scientific achievement in the fields of physics, chemistry, materials science, biology, and more.
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 nuclear-science facility to find peaceful applications for what was then being learned about the nucleus of the atom. They chose a surplus army base “way out on Long Island” as the site. On March 21, 1947, the U.S. War Department transferred the site of Camp Upton to the U.S. Atomic Energy Commission (AEC), which was a predecessor to the present U.S. Department of Energy (DOE). The AEC provided the initial funding for research, with the goal of improving public well-being.
The Lab was conceived primarily to conduct basic research. However, 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. Over the years, Brookhaven has been home to numerous one-of-a-kind particle accelerators such as the Cosmotron, the Alternating Gradient Synchrotron, the Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider (RHIC), the National Synchrotron Light Source (NSLS), and soon, the NSLS-II, as well as many other amazing research machines.
Today, Brookhaven Lab is one of 10 national laboratories that are part of DOE’s Office of Science, which provides the majority of the Laboratory’s research dollars and direction. DOE oversees much of the science research in the United States through its Office of Science.
2012-3423 | INT/EXT | Media & Communications Office
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