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RHIC’s Role in High-Tech Workforce of the Future

PHENIX detector

PHENIX detector where Anuj Purwar studied

In addition to helping scientists peer into the very heart of matter, large-scale physics facilities like the Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider (RHIC) – Brookhaven’s “Big Bang” physics particle accelerator – play a significant role in training the next generation of world-class physicists. These scientists often make important contributions that fuel the economy, provide for security, and pave the way to a healthier, brighter future. Indeed, more than half the students who earn doctoral degrees in nuclear physics in the U.S. go on to work in fields as diverse as national security, medicine, energy generation, space exploration, finance, and more. Here are just two of their stories: 

Anuj Purwar, who conducted research as a member of RHIC’s PHENIX collaboration to earn his Ph.D. in experimental nuclear physics, now applies the knowledge and skills to further R&D using radiation to treat cancer. His experience working with radiation detectors, linear accelerators, and nuclear physics at RHIC has helped him come up with innovative solutions to the problem of delivering high doses of ionizing radiation to cancerous tumors while minimizing collateral damage to normal tissues.

Monika Sharma worked on the state-of-the-art RHIC computing facility while she was at Brookhaven. Analyzing the large amounts of data from STAR and the other experiments provided her with a strong foundation for her move to a research associate position where she has worked with the data from the CMS detector, an experiment located at the Large Hadron Collider near Geneva, Switzerland. 

As of 2012, more than 350 students have earned Ph.D.s based in part on their work at RHIC; hundreds more are in the pipeline.

2012-3545  |  INT/EXT  |  Media & Communications Office

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