General Lab Information

Raju Venugopalan

Distinguished Scientist, Nuclear Theory, Physics Department

Raju Venugopalan

Brookhaven National Laboratory

Physics Department
Bldg. 510A, Room 2-55
P.O. Box 5000
Upton, NY 11973-5000

(631) 344-2341

My interests are primarily in QCD, with a focus on the theory at high energies, where quarks and gluons display novel interesting collective many-body behavior; one example is the strongly interacting quark gluon plasma (QGP) produced in heavy ion collisions at RHIC and at the LHC.

I am interested in how quantum states that generate this matter look like in nuclear wave functions—their properties can be described as a Color Glass Condensate (CGC). When two CGCs collide, they shatter to form a highly non-equilibrium Glasma state. In strong analogy with inflationary dynamics in the early universe, quantum fluctuations play an essential role in thermalizing quark-gluon matter and in generating long range rapidity correlations. Remarkably, experiments at RHIC and LHC are able to extract finger prints of such dynamics, providing insight into how strong color fields thermalize into the QGP.The CGC can also be probed directly in deuteron-gold collisions at RHIC and in p+A collisions at the LHC. Further precision studies in the future are feasible with an Electron Ion Collider (EIC).

The EIC is a project I have been involved in since its very inception; an early incarnation was eRHIC, the idea being introducing an electron beam into the RHIC tunnel, facilitating high energy colllisions of electrons with polarized protons and heavy nuclei. We organized the first eRHIC workshop at BNL on December 3-4, 1999, and a little over 20 years later,  the EIC is an approved DOE project under construction at BNL. First collisions are expect in the early 2030s, and a growing EIC community is actively developing the science case for this collider. 

I am also interested in the interdisciplinary connections of QCD at high energies to other areas of physics, and have published several papers exploring various features of QCD at high energies to physical phenomena ranging from the Planck scale to the physics of ultracold atoms. With on-going discoveries at RHIC and the LHC, and active plans for future facilities, the study of collective phenomena in QCD (the most perfect theory known) is a vibrant sub-field of physics.

Research | Education | Appointments | Highlights | Awards

Research Activities

For more details on my research, see my recent reviews on high energy QCD:
Science Outreach
Scientific Activity
  • Author of > 175 published papers with ~26,000 citations — amongst most highly cited in peer group worldwide. H-index of  published papers: 78 (INSPIRE)
  • Since January 2010, published > 90 papers, cited ~12,000 times: comparable to highest cited nuclear, particle and condensed matter theorists worldwide (Amongst most cited theorists in INSPIRE since 2010, see Tables 7 and 10,, updated 01/01/21)
  • Most highly cited paper has ~2250 citations and is a PRD 50th Anniversary Milestone paper. 3 other papers with 1000+ citations, 3 with 500+, 16 with 250+, 43 with 100+ citations and 38 with 50+ citations (papers with < 10 authors)
  • Over 45 Departmental Colloquia worldwide since 2011, numerous plenary and invited talks at international conferences
  • Supervised or  co-supervised/mentored numerous Undergraduate, Masters and Ph.D students.


  • B.S., University of Chicago, June 1987.
  • Ph.D., Stony Brook, August 1992.

Professional Appointments

Post-doctoral appointments
  • September 1992-August 1994, Research Associate, Theoretical Physics Institute, Univ. of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN
  • September 1994-December 1996, Research Associate, National Institute for Nuclear Theory, Univ. of Washington, Seattle, WA
  • January 1997-September 1998, Danish Research Council Fellow, Niels Bohr Institute, Copenhagen, Denmark
Faculty appointments
  • October 2022-present, Distinguished  Scientist
  • October 2022-present, DIrector, BNL EIC Theory Institute
  • March 2007-Sept. 2022, Senior Scientist, BNL
  • March 2009-present, Adjunct Professor, Stony Brook University
  • October 2016-September 2021, Group Leader, BNL Nuclear Theory
  • Sept. 2015-Sept. 2016, Excellence Initiative Guest Professor, Institute for Theoretical Physics, Heidelberg University, Germany
  • June 2010-July 2015, Group Leader, BNL Nuclear Theory
  • Oct.98-March 2007, Asst., Assoc. and Physicist appointments, BNL Awarded Tenure, June 2002.

Research Highlights

  • i) Co-author of Color Glass Condensate (CGC) Effective Theory of Quantum Chromodynamics
    • work initiated a sub-field of theoretical nuclear physics. 
      Recent advance (2019-2021): first NLO DIS computations of dijets and photons at small x, essential for EIC precision studies of gluon saturation
  • ii) Pioneered numerical and analytical techniques in real time classical-statistical field theory. Recent discoveries/advances include
    • world-line formalism for chiral kinetic theory, small-x QCD, spin physics, infrared-safe construction of QED S-matrix  to all orders
    •  non-equilibrium topological "sphaleron" transitions  
    • universal, non-thermal fixed points in scalar and gauge theories Highlights summarized in 2021 Reviews of Modern Physics article
  • iii) Co-inventor of the IP-Glasma model, which provides the most successful description to date of high energy heavy-ion collisions
  • iv) Invented novel formalism for multiparticle production in strong fields. Applied such ideas to construct factorization theorems and to numerous applications in hadron-hadron collisions
  • v) Early proponent of science case for an Electron-Ion Collider (EIC). Principal organizer, first eRHIC conference (December 1999); Pioneering computation
Other Highlights
  • Co-Founder (2017), BNL Physics Department Leona Woods Distinguished Post-doctoral Lectureship for outstanding scientists from underrepresented groups
  • In 2013, during my tenure as Group Leader, the BNL NT Group was top-rated amongst 62 supported university and national lab groups in a DOE Comparative Review.
  • Co-Author of May 2015 feature article “The glue that binds us all”, in Scientific American (widely translated worldwide and cover story of French Edition).
  • Co-organized first INT Program and Report on EIC Science This 2011 document has 621 citations to date

Awards & Recognition

  • Co-PI of Simons Foundation Collaboration on Confinement and QCD strings
  • Distinguished Visiting Scientist Grant, Ben-Gurion University, Israel (May-June 2022)
  • Co-author of Phys. Rev. D 50th Anniversary Milestone Paper (2020): 
  • Suffolk County NY Distinguished Asian American Award (2019)
  • BNL Science & Technology Award (2018)
  • Humboldt Research Award ("Humboldt Prize", October 2016 -)
  • Excellence Initiative Award and Chair, Heidelberg University (2014- 2016); EMMI Visiting Professor (2014)
  • Fulbright Senior Specialist Award (2012)
  • Fellow of the American Physical Society (2007-)
  • A. Von Humboldt Foundation US Research Fellow (2004-2005)
  • Fellow RIKEN-BNL Research Center (2000-2003)
  • Univ. of Chicago Undergraduate Scholarship (1984-1987)

Key Appointments/Service

  • Member, APS Committee on Scientific Meetings (2023-2025)
  • co-PI SURGE DOE Topical theory collaboration (2022-2027)
  • Chair, Laboratory Director’s Review Committee of the LBNL Nuclear Science Division (June 2021)
  • Theory sub-Thrust co-Leader, Co-design Center for Quantum Advantage (C2QA)  BNL (2020-2022)
  • Director’s Review Committee, Tata Institute (TIFR), Mumbai, India (March 2019)
  • Academy President’s Review Committee, Austrian Academy of Sciences (June 2018)
  • Co-chair,  Steering Committee, Joint BNL/Stony Brook Center for Frontiers in Nuclear Science (2018-)
  • International Advisory Board, INCT-FNA (Brazil), (2017-)
  • Member, German SFB ISOQUANT Research Collaboration, Heidelberg University (2016-)
  • Co-PI on BEST and TMD DOE Topical Theory Collaborations (2016-2021)
  • Laboratory Director's Review Committee of the Nuclear Science Division, Lawrence Berkeley Lab (October 2016)
  • EMMI (GSI, Germany) Scientific Advisory Committee (2016-2022)
  • APS Division of Nuclear Physics Executive Committee (2016-2018)
  • National Advisory Committee, INT Seattle (2015-2017)
  • Chair-line, APS Topical Group on Hadron Physics (2014-17)
  • Editor, Annals of Physics (2013-); Editorial College, SciPost (2019-)
  • DOE Nuclear Science Advisory Council (NSAC) member (2012- 2016) and member, NSAC Long Range Plan Working Group (2014-2015)
  • Chair, BNL Council (2010-2011)
  • International Conference Advisory Committees: Quark Matter (QM15, QM17, QM18, QM19, QM22, QM23), Quarks in Nuclear Physics (QNP15, QNP18, QNP22, QNP24), Initial Stages (IS13, IS14, IS16, IS17, CoChair 19, IS21, IS23), Hard Probes (HP18, HP20), ICPAQGP-23
  • Founder of Conference Series and IAC member, POETIC I-X
Raju Venugopalan

Brookhaven National Laboratory

Physics Department
Bldg. 510A, Room 2-55
P.O. Box 5000
Upton, NY 11973-5000

(631) 344-2341

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