Ilan Ben-Zvi, a physicist at the U.S. Department of Energy's Brookhaven National Laboratory, has won the 2008 IEEE Nuclear & Plasma Sciences Society (NPSS) Merit Award. IEEE originally represented electrical and electronics engineers, but it has expanded its scope and today is the world's leading professional association for the advancement of technology. Ben-Zvi will receive his award, which consists of $2,000, a plaque, and a certificate, at an IEEE/NPSS meeting of his choice.
Ben-Zvi's award citation states: "For outstanding contributions to the fields of high energy physics accelerators and free electron lasers (FELs)." FELs are used to study a wide variety of materials and chemical reactions.
As Director of Brookhaven Lab's Accelerator Test Facility (ATF) for 15 years, Ben-Zvi saw to its development as the premiere advanced accelerator physics facility in the world. Commissioned in 1992, Brookhaven's ATF is a small linear accelerator, which operates in conjunction with a high-powered, short-pulse laser to produce an electron beam.
Physicists from around the world use the facility to study new concepts in accelerator physics. Working at the ATF, Ben-Zvi invented devices for improving the operation of accelerators for physics research and for FELs.
After earning a Ph.D. in physics from the Weizmann Institute of Science, Israel, in 1970, Ben-Zvi went to Stanford University, where he helped develop the earliest stages of superconducting linear accelerators. In 1975, he returned to Weizmann, where he founded a cryogenic technology laboratory. From 1980- 1982, Ben-Zvi was a visiting associate professor of physics at Stony Brook University, where he helped to establish an accelerator at the school, and he invented and developed accelerator systems now used throughout the world.
Ben-Zvi joined Brookhaven Lab as a visiting physicist in 1988 and rose through the ranks to become a senior physicist in 1997. He served as head of Brookhaven's Accelerator Test Facility from 1992 to 2007, and he is currently the associate chair for superconducting accelerator R&D at Brookhaven as well as an adjunct professor of physics at Stony Brook University.
A Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the American Physical Society, Ben-Zvi is also a senior member of IEEE and the recipient of the 1999 IEEE Accelerator Science and Technology Award. He received Brookhaven Lab's Science and Technology Award in 2001 and the Free Electron Laser Prize in 2007, sponsored by the International Free Electron Laser Conference. He has served in leading roles in many scientific meetings and panels, including the FEL '95 and FEL'01 international meetings. He is the author or coauthor of over 375 publications.