Feb 20, 2013
Faces & Places
Brookhaven has new leader for nuclear and particle physics
Nuclear physicist Berndt Mueller is to lead the physics programmes at Brookhaven National Laboratory, having taken over as the associate laboratory director (ALD) for nuclear and particle physics as of 1 January. Mueller has a long collaborative association with Brookhaven and brings world-class experience to his new post as both a scientist and a manager of major research initiatives.
With a PhD in theoretical physics from Goethe University in Frankfurt, as well as postgraduate studies at Yale University and the University of Washington, Mueller has served on many physics review panels for the US Department of Energy and the National Science Foundation. He is currently chair-elect of the division of nuclear physics of the American Physical Society. He recently co-authored a paper for the journal Science, reviewing the scientific achievements of the laboratory’s Relativistic Heavy-Ion Collider (RHIC) and outlining the complementary physics opportunities for the next decade of experiments at RHIC and at the LHC at CERN.
Mueller replaces physicist Steve Vigdor, who retired at the end of 2012 after five years as ALD. Vigdor had advanced the research programme at RHIC, guided the laboratory’s participation in the ATLAS experiment and developed programmes in cosmology, astrophysics and neutrino research.
Currently a James B Duke Professor and the director of the Centre for Theoretical and Mathematical Sciences at Duke University, Mueller will continue his work there for the remainder of the current academic year, splitting his time between Duke and Brookhaven for the first five months. During this transition period, Brookhaven’s David Lissauer will act as interim ALD, sharing responsibilities and bringing Mueller up to speed on the laboratory’s existing operations and latest initiatives.
INFN inaugurates new national centre in Trento
The INFN has established a new national centre at Trento, northern Italy, dedicated to particle physics and the development of cutting-edge technologies in sensors, space research, supercomputing and biomedicine. The Trento Institute for Fundamental Physics and Applications (TIFPA) is a result of collaboration between the INFN, the University of Trento, the Bruno Kessler Foundation (FBK) and the Trento Provincial Agency for Proton Therapy (ATreP).
The new centre will deal with research into fundamental physics as well as innovation and technology transfer by exploiting the existing infrastructures, skills and human resources of the project’s partners in Trento and by expanding specific areas of action. It will, for instance, count on the infrastructures of the Centre for Materials and Microsystems – which built the silicon detectors for the AMS experiment on the International Space Station and for the ALICE experiment at CERN – and of the European Centre for Theoretical Physics of the FBK and use the new proton-therapy machine that will become operational by the end of 2013.
Francesco Profumo, Italy’s Minister for Education, Research and University, spoke at the end of the inauguration ceremony on 15 January, immediately after the INFN, the University of Trento, the BFK and the ATreP signed a declaration of intent. His presence at the event underlined the strategic importance of the initiative, both for the potential for scientific progress and in terms of building synergies among the various institutions. The declaration officially paves the way for further and closer institutional collaborations to be implemented at the cutting-edge centre.