Satoshi Ozaki and Michael Harrison, physicist-administrators at the U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) Brookhaven National Laboratory who led the decade-long development and construction of the Laboratory's world-class particle accelerator, the Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider (RHIC), were awarded the 2007 Particle Accelerator Science & Technology Award. Sponsored by the Nuclear & Plasma Sciences Society of the Institute of Electrical & Electronics Engineers (IEEE), the award consists of $2,000, shared equally between the two recipients and a plaque for each recipient with the inscription: "For leadership in the successful design and construction of the Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider."
"It is rewarding to receive this recognition from IEEE, " said Ozaki. "RHIC has exceeded our original expectations. It is producing outstanding physics results both in the relativistic heavy ion and spin physics programs. I would like to thank everyone who made RHIC possible, but, in particular, Nobel Laureate T.D. Lee from Columbia University, who thought of the original idea of physics at RHIC, and former Brookhaven Lab Director Nicholas Samios and his colleagues, who brought the idea to realization. I also thank those who gave us strong and steady support throughout the project, including the DOE Office of Nuclear Physics."
"I am delighted to receive this award," said Harrison. "This project involved not only many scientists, engineers, technicians and support staff at Brookhaven, but also several successful partnerships with industry. All helped to achieve the goal of bringing RHIC on line on time and within budget," Harrison said. "RHIC has made possible new horizons in physics, and I am confident that many more important discoveries will be made at the world-class accelerator."
About 500 people were involved in the design and construction of RHIC, commissioned in 1999. 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, physicists at RHIC discovered a "perfect liquid," a type of matter that has not existed since the beginning of the universe. This is a feat that crossed into a new frontier of scientific exploration.
This year, RHIC is colliding high-energy beams of polarized protons -- protons that spin in the same direction -- the world's first and only accelerator to do so. Protons spin in a way that is similar to the Earth spinning on its axis. Scientists at RHIC hope to solve the mystery of what causes proton spin.