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LD 06 - Legislator Sarah S. Anker

Posted on: April 7, 2023

Legislator Anker Recognizes BNL Scientists Awarded as Fellows of the American Physical Society

Legislator Anker Recognizes BNL Scientists Awarded as Fellows of the American Physical Society

UPTON, N.Y. –Legislator Sarah Anker recently congratulated and presented proclamations to Bjoern Schenke Ph.D , Alexei Fedotov Ph.D, and Elizabeth Ricard-McCutchan Ph.D, three Brookhaven National Laboratory (BNL) renound scientists who were named Fellows of the American Physical Society (APS), an honor no more than half of one percent of current APS members are awarded.

“My sincerest congratulations to BNL’s three incredibly intelligent and talented scientists on their hard work and creativity which helps to advance our society in immeasurable ways. Their passion and dedication is clearly shown in the caliber, quality, and expedience of the results they produce,” said Legislator Anker. “I applaud Brookhaven National Laboratory for their incredible ability to foster an environment for brilliant minds to excel in.”

According to Brookhaven National Laboratory, “Bjoern Schenke, a physicist in the nuclear theory group, was elected as an APS Fellow for his contributions to understanding the matter created in particle collisions at Brookhaven Lab’s Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider (RHIC) and Europe’s Large Hadron Collider (LHC). He develops calculations and simulations to describe how this matter, known as quark-gluon plasma, evolves over time. Quark-gluon plasma is a trillion-degree “soup” of quarks and gluons—the fundamental building blocks of protons and neutrons that make up the nuclei of atoms in today’s world. It last existed in nature nearly 14 billion years ago, just after the universe first formed. Collisions of heavy ions —the nuclei of heavy atoms such as gold (at RHIC) or lead (at LHC)—recreate this matter, which lasts for a tiny fraction of a second before transforming into other particles. Scientists study the QGP using house-sized detectors that capture “snapshots” of those new particles emerging from collisions. Schenke has developed mathematical models that help account for this data and use it to describe the properties of the QGP. His work contributed to the understanding that QGP behaves as a nearly perfect fluid with practically no viscosity. It is also helping scientists map out the various phases of nuclear matter under different conditions of temperature and pressure (similar to mapping the solid, liquid, and gaseous phases of water). His work is also laying the theoretical foundation for future experiments at the Electron-Ion Collider, which is planned to begin experiments at Brookhaven sometime in the next decade. 

Alexei Fedotov was elected as an APS Fellow for his contributions to an accelerator based “cooling” technique that maximizes collision rates at Brookhaven Lab’s Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider (RHIC). More collisions at RHIC produce more data for scientist to analyze to learn about the matter created in these collisions. That matter, known as quark-gluon plasma (QGP), mimics what the early universe was like before protons and neutrons formed. By studying its properties, scientists are learning about the building blocks of matter and the strongest force of nature. That force holds together the atoms that make up nearly all the visible matter in our universe today. Discoveries about it may help power the technologies of tomorrow. Fedotov’s innovative technique uses a beam of relatively cool electrons to extract heat from the beams of heavy ions (the nuclei of heavy atoms such as gold) that RHIC collides to create the QGP. The cool electrons act like the coolant in a refrigerator. But generating the cool electron beam, and accelerating and injecting it into the two rings that make up the RHIC accelerator, were huge technological challenges. Fedotov was involved in every aspect of the design, construction, and testing of all the systems needed to make the cooling work. These include high-quantum-efficiency photocathodes and a high-power laser for generating the electron beams, along with radiofrequency accelerator technologies and innovative approaches for bringing the electrons up to the near-lightspeed pace of the circulating ions. Fedotov also configured a way to cool ions in both RHIC rings with a single electron beam. His work paves the way for using this technique to cool ion beams at the future Electron-Ion Collider. 

Elizabeth Ricard-McCutchan was elected as an APS Fellow for her wide-ranging contributions to the field of nuclear science. Her early career contributions included experiments using a Yale University particle accelerator to study how the nuclei of certain “rare-earth” atoms decay over their lifetime. This work led to significant insights into the structure and behavior of these nuclei. As part of that research, Ricard-McCutchan also developed innovative theoretical approaches that advanced scientists’ ability to model the collective behavior of atomic nuclei. She then moved to a fellowship at Argonne National Laboratory, where she studied the structure and reactions of very light atomic nuclei. Through that work, she established precise new ways to test how the building blocks of these nuclei contribute to their structure. In her current position at Brookhaven National Labs, she contributes to the National Nuclear Data Center’s mission to collect, evaluate, archive, and disseminate data on all atomic nuclei so it can be used in basic nuclear science research and applications. She’s developed new tools for managing and finding deeper meaning in nuclear data, including in her current research on topics such as reactor physics, the behavior of subatomic particles called neutrinos, and measurements of key properties of isotopes that can be used in nuclear medicine (for diagnosis and treatment) and forensics (for tracking radioactive materials).”

For more information, please contact Brookhaven National Laboratory at (631) 344-8000.


Pictured Left to Right: Brookhaven National Laboratory Stakeholders Relations Office Manager Ken White, Suffolk County Legislator Sarah Anker, Elizabeth Ricard-McCutchan Ph.D, Alexei Fedotov Ph.D, Bjoern Schenke Ph.D, Brookhaven National Laboratory Manager of Environmental and Community Engagement Amy Engel, and Suffolk County Legislator Sarah Anker’s Chief of Staff Dorothy Cavalier.

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