Satoshi Ozaki, a physicist at the U.S.
Department of Energy's Brookhaven National Laboratory, has been selected
as the recipient of the American Physical Society's 2009 Robert R. Wilson
Prize. Named to honor the first director of DOE's Fermi National Accelerator
Laboratory, the $5,000 prize recognizes and encourages outstanding achievement
in the physics of particle accelerators. Ozaki will receive the award at the
2009 Particle Accelerator Conference in Vancouver, Canada, in May.
Ozaki is cited “For his outstanding contribution to the design and construction
of accelerators that has led to the realization of major machines for fundamental
science on two continents, and his promotion of international collaboration.”
“I am honored to receive this recognition for my accomplishments,”
Ozaki said. “Designing and building particle accelerators takes years
of work by hundreds of very talented and skilled people. I am grateful for those
who have helped me bring major research facilities to fruition, both in the
U.S. and in Japan.”
Ozaki, along with Brookhaven Lab's Michael Harrison, led the decade-long
development and construction of the Laboratory's world-class particle
accelerator, the Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider (RHIC). About 1,000 physicists
from around the world run experiments at RHIC, colliding very high energy subatomic
particles known as heavy ions head-on to study the type of matter that existed
a millionth of a second after the Big Bang. In 2005, RHIC physicists discovered
a “perfect” liquid, a type of matter that has not existed since
the beginning of the universe.
In 2002, RHIC became the world's first and only accelerator to collide
high-energy beams of polarized protons — protons that spin in the same
direction, the way the Earth spins on its axis. Physicists at RHIC hope to solve
the mystery of what causes proton spin.
Before Ozaki started the RHIC project, he was invited in 1981 to join the National
Laboratory for High Energy Physics, a research institute in Japan also known
as KEK, to direct the construction of TRISTAN, the first major high-energy particle
collider in the country. Ozaki completed TRISTAN on time and within budget.
The facility accelerates and stores beams of electrons and positrons at 30 billion
electron volts, the highest energy in the world at the time the accelerator
started operations in 1987. In TRISTAN, the particles collided to create an
extremely high-energy concentration in a tiny, point-like space. It was envisaged
that such high-energy collisions would reveal the nature of electromagnetic
interaction of matter at an extremely short distance and provide the possibility
of creating new heavy particles.
After earning a Ph.D. in physics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology
in 1959, Ozaki joined Brookhaven Lab as a research associate. He rose through
the ranks to become a tenured senior physicist in 1972. He joined KEK in 1981
to work on TRISTAN, a $500-millon project, and then returned to Brookhaven in
1989 to head the RHIC Project. Besides completing the $660-million collider,
Ozaki was instrumental in bringing polarized proton capability to RHIC with
funding support from the RIKEN Institute of Japan.
From 2005 until recently, Ozaki directed the Accelerator Systems Division for
Brookhaven's NSLS-II Project. This new synchrotron light source will provide
extremely bright x-rays for basic and applied research in many areas of science.
Ozaki serves on various advisory and review committees for U.S. and international
institutions, laboratories and government agencies. He is a Fellow of the American
Physical Society and the Chair of the APS Forum for International Physics.