News Center

VIDEO: Particle Accelerators Drive Decades of Discoveries at Berkeley Lab and Beyond

This video and accompanying article highlight the decades of discoveries, achievements and progress in particle accelerator R&D at Berkeley Lab. These accelerators have enabled new explorations of the atomic nucleus; the production and discovery of new elements and isotopes, and of subatomic particles and their properties; created new types of medical imaging and treatments; and provided new insight into the nature of matter and energy, and new methods to advance industry and security, among other wide-ranging applications.

Is your Supercomputer Stumped? There May Be a Quantum Solution

A new study led by a physicist at Berkeley Lab details how a quantum computing technique called “quantum annealing” can be used to solve problems relevant to fundamental questions in nuclear physics about the subatomic building blocks of all matter. It could also help answer other vexing questions in science and industry, too.

The ‘Little’ Computer Cluster That Could

A computer cluster at Berkeley Lab, which switched off last month, since 1996 had served as a steady workhorse in supporting groundbreaking physics research conducted by large collaborations.

Setting a ‘Gold Standard’ for Ultrasensitive Particle Detectors

Alan “Al” Smith was a pioneer in the “low-background counting” performance of particle detectors – their ability to see ever-fainter signatures of particle interactions. He developed the gold standard for measuring trace levels of radioactivity in materials and components.

Sea Quark Surprise Reveals Deeper Complexity in Proton Spin Puzzle

New data from the STAR experiment at the Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider (RHIC) add detail – and complexity – to an intriguing puzzle that scientists have been seeking to solve: how the building blocks that make up a proton contribute to its spin.

Preparing for a New Tool to Study the ‘Glue That Binds Us All’

For several decades, the nuclear science community has been calling for a new type of particle collider to pursue – in the words of one report – “a new experimental quest to study the glue that binds us all.” This glue is responsible for most of the visible universe’s matter and mass. To learn about this glue, scientists are proposing a unique, high-energy collider that smashes accelerated electrons, which carry a negative charge, into charged atomic nuclei or protons, which carry a positive charge.

New Measurements of Exotic Form of Magnesium Suggest a Surprising Shape-Shift

A team led by Berkeley Lab scientists has gleaned new and surprising clues about the nuclear structure of an exotic form of magnesium – Mg-40.

How to Escape a Black Hole: Simulations Provide New Clues to What’s Driving Powerful Plasma Jets

New simulations led by researchers working at the Berkeley Lab and UC Berkeley combine decades-old theories to provide new insight about the driving mechanisms in plasma jets that allow them to steal energy from black holes’ powerful gravitational fields and propel it far from their gaping mouths.

FIONA Measures the Mass Number of 2 Superheavy Elements: Moscovium and Nihonium

A team led by nuclear physicists at the Department of Energy’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) has reported the first direct measurements of the mass numbers for the nuclei of two superheavy elements: moscovium, which is element 115, and nihonium, element 113. They obtained the results using FIONA, a new tool at Berkeley Lab that is designed to resolve the nuclear and atomic properties of the heaviest elements.

A Next Step for GRETA: A Better Gamma-Ray Detector

A new high-resolution gamma-ray detector system – designed to reveal new details about the structure and inner workings of atomic nuclei, and to elevate our understanding of matter and the stellar creation of elements – has passed an important project milestone.