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Brookhaven National Laboratory- on site meeting

May 29, 2009 @ 12:00 am EDT


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This morning’s LIMBA meeting was a little unusual. We had an off-site meeting that was hosted by Brookhaven National Laboratories at their location.

BNL is an enormously important research center that prides itself as being the home base of 6 Nobel Prize winners. This is more than any other National Research Center except for Lawrence Livermore in California and they include Nobel Laureates from Berkeley

We started off with a video overview of the facility at Berkner Hall. The past scientific accomplishments and important international cooperation was discussed. The Laboratory is open to scientific research that comes from around the world. The science that is discovered there is open for any one to see, except for projects that are wholly reimbursed to the Lab by the research companies that frequently use the lab’s equipment.

In the days of my schooling microscopes that can see things on a molecular scale were thought to be impossible to build. Today we take it for granted, although an electron microscope does not come cheap, about $1.3million.

We visited the new Nano Center where nanotechnology is being developed in various fields. Nano will be important in medicine, material development, energy, and applications that have not yet been thought of. When I asked; “Where is all this science taking us? Our guide, Dr Sherman answered “If we knew exactly what we were doing we wouldn’t be scientists”

When the new National Synchrotron Light Source II is built it will be a valuable asset in developing nano- science. (We recently had  Dr. Steve Dierker visit us at LIMBA to discuss the possibilities of that machine) This new light source will be 10,000 times brighter than any other similar machine that has been built in the world.

On the campus there is an accelerator building, which consists of a large ring, where matter is accelerated and guided by magnetic fields and destroyed under precise conditions to learn more about the nature of the universe. This apparatus has been in service for many years and has been the source of many important discoveries.

Out of these continued efforts, which have been going on here since 1947, we can expect to see developments in science that will allow us to produce lighter and stronger automobiles, advancements in  medicine, building technology, energy technology, and materials development. 

I cannot be anything but optimistic about the future, as long as we keep putting resources into the science we find here. Long Islanders have a gem in their backyard.

Ernie Fazio