Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Brookhaven National Laboratory(BNL) Discoveries

Brookhaven Discoveries

Here are just a few of the many discoveries, developments, inventions and innovations that Brookhaven scientists have made in the last 50 years.

Top Ten Scientific Discoveries

Six Nobel Prizes, five in physics and one in chemistry (for more information:
Courant-Snyder strong focusing principle, critical to the design of all modern particle accelerators
The Green-Chasman lattice, a design for electron storage rings that was first implemented at Brookhaven’s National Synchrotron Light Source and since adopted by many of the world’s synchrotron radiation facilities
Theories and experiments to determine the mechanisms underlying high-temperature superconductors
Study of the effects of radiation on biological systems, important to cancer treatment and prevention and to human space travel
A way to produce vast quantities of gene products, using a virus known as T7
Development of fluoro-2-deoxy-D-glucose, or FDG-18, now used in nearly every clinical positron emission tomography scan done in hospitals around the world
Important studies of the brain, including those uncovering the roots of psychiatric disorders, brain metabolism and drug addiction
Large-scale studies of the effect of increased carbon dioxide on ecosystems
At Brookhaven’s Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider, discovery of a perfect liquid – a type of matter thought by scientists to have existed microseconds after the Big Bang.
Biomedical Sciences
Advances in nuclear medicine, including:

The development of technetium-99m, now used to diagnose heart disease and other ailments in over 11 million Americans each year. BNL researchers have also developed a simple-to-use kit to allow doctors to easily label blood with Tc-99m; this kit is used over 200,000 times a year.
The development of thallium-201, now used in hundreds of thousands of heart stress-tests each year.
The development of tin-117m, a promising agent for easing the pain of bone cancer without sedation.
Discoveries to aid pharmaceutical design, including:

Structural studies of the Lyme disease protein used in a new, effective vaccine
Development of a technique to study viral and bacterial proteins while they are embedded in the cellular membrane.
X-ray and neutron scattering facilities that have made possible countless studies of molecular structures important to disease.
Development of an effective database to store structural information about biomolecules that can be accessed by researchers in academia and industry to "rationally" design pharmaceuticals.
Development of novel medical therapies and concepts, including:

Boron neutron capture therapy, currently showing promise for the treatment of brain tumors in a clinical trial.
Use of L-dopa for the treatment of Parkinson's disease (still the gold standard for treatment)
X-ray angiography for non-invasive heart imaging
Link between salt and hypertension
Studies on radiation-induced malignancies and DNA repair
Important tools for biomedical research, including:

A way to produce vast quantities of gene products, using a virus known as T7
Tritiated thymidine, a way to tag molecules with short-lived radioactivity for easier examination
Methods for attaching heavy metal atoms to important molecules, such as antibodies, for easier imaging using electron microscopes
Techniques for sequencing large segments of DNA rapidly
Method for synthesizing insulin, paving the way for production of insulin by recombinant DNA
Advances in medical imaging, and the use of imaging in research, including:

Development of some of the first agents for positron emission tomography scanning; one BNL-developed agent, 18-FDG, is now used in nearly every clinical PET scan done in hospitals around the world
Important studies of the brain, including the roots of drug addiction (e.g. first image of cocaine in the brain, discovery of enzyme deficit in smokers' brains), psychiatric disorders, and brain metabolism
Environmental Sciences
Response of plants and trees to radiation exposure
Metal hydrides for better hydrogen storage in fuel cells
Building and studying of demonstration houses with alternative-energy and energy-saving features
Invention of better, cleaner, more efficient oil burners and devices to aid clean and efficient oil burning
Development of chemically inert tracers and detectors to track the environmental impact of power plants
Better, safer, more convenient natural gas storage options for alternative-fuel vehicles
Facilities that allow studies of environmental technologies and phenomena: polymers used to clean up oil spills, examination of sandstone porosity for more efficient oil-field exploration, and the effect of cosmic radiation on tissue
Large-scale studies of the effect of increased carbon dioxide on ecosystems
Oceanographic studies of plankton populations to gauge ocean health and climate change potential; also research into the cause of mysterious "brown tide" algae blooms
Harnessing natural bacteria to clean up environmental pollution and purify crude oil
Studies of air pollution, including smog and particulates
Computer models of atmospheric radiation (important for climate change), groundwater movement, and energy use impact in developing nations
New techniques for encapsulating hazardous waste for storage and disposal, including glass, plastic and concrete
Technology & Energy
Advanced technology basic research and development, including:

Basic research on superconductors for better communications technology
Advanced computer chip design
Better batteries using advanced electrolyte materials
Magnetically levitated trains
Advanced coatings for corrosion prevention
Polymer composite materials for construction and road repair
Facility for testing the resistance of satellite computer circuits to cosmic ray damage
Polyplanar video display screen
World’s first video game
Nuclear safety achievements, including:

Assistance to former Soviet states for safeguarding of nuclear materials
Reactor safety analysis, including safety systems and human error
Assistance to former Soviet states for reactor safety
Important early research on reactor physics that led to development of light-water reactors

Top Ten Consumer-Oriented Discoveries
Technetium-99m, the leading radiotracer used in the diagnosis of heart disease and other ailments in millions of people each year
Synthetic insulin
Thallium-201, used in heart stress tests
Use of L-dopa to treat Parkinson’s disease
Link between salt and hypertension
Magnetically levitated trains
Environmentally cleaner, more efficient oil burners and devices to aid clean and efficient oil-burning
Advanced coatings for corrosion prevention
Advanced computer chip design
World’s first video game
Physical Sciences
Discoveries that shaped our understanding of the atom and the universe, including:

Precise measurement of the anomalous magnetic moment of the muon, or "muon g-2". The value of muon g-2 is a very sensitive test of the validity of the Standard Model of particle physics.
First evidence for the exotic meson, a new breed of subatomic particle whose existence helps validate the central theory of modern physics, called the standard model.
Detection of a rare kaon decay, thought to happen only once or twice in every 10 billion decays and perhaps an indicator of new phenomena that cannot be explained by the Standard Model.
Pioneering solar neutrino studies that sought an answer to the mystery of the "missing" neutrinos from our solar system's sun, and neutrino bursts from supernovae. BNL researcher Raymond Davis Jr.'s work in this area led to a Nobel Prize in 2002.
Discovery of the muon neutrino, which opened a new field of study and which won the Nobel Prize in 1988.
Discovery of CP violation, which showed a flaw in the belief that the universe is symmetrical, and which won the Nobel Prize in 1980.
Co-discovery of the J/psi particle, which won the Nobel Prize in 1976
Theoretical work on parity violation, based on data from BNL's Cosmotron, which won the Nobel Prize in 1957
First examples of three dynamical symmetries in atomic nuclei, which opened up a new approach to studying the structure of the atomic nucleus.
First application of computing to study systems with many degrees of freedom, for studies of radiation damage to crystal structures and studies of magnetism.
Development of Monte Carlo methods for exploring the interaction of atoms and particles, and other systems with many variables.
First direct evidence for the existence of "glueballs"
Discovery of the K meson and the first vector meson.
Discovery of the Omega-minus particle in 1964.
Discovery of the charmed baryon particle in 1975.
Discovery of the neutral and negative sigma baryons.
Experimental confirmation of the theory of associated production of strange particles.
Discovery of the phi vector meson
Discovery of the the antiparticles anti-Xi-minus and anti-Xi-zero
At Brookhaven’s Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider, discovery of a perfect liquid – a type of matter thought by scientists to have existed microseconds after the Big Bang.
Important contributions to the development of accelerator technology for worldwide use in physics and other fields, including:

The Courant - Snyder strong focusing principle, crucial to the existence of the Alternating Gradient Synchrotron, and all modern circular accelerators.
The Green - Chasman lattice that optimizes photon source parameters, first implemented at the
National Synchrotron Light Source and since adopted by many of the world's state-of-the-art synchrotron radiation facilities.
The Palmer two-in-one magnet design has been chosen for the Large Hadron Collider, now under construction at CERN
The laser-photocathode RF gun developed at the Accelerator Test Facility, which has become a world-wide standard of high-brightness electron guns.
Work that helped humankind understand and exploit the properties of existing and new solid materials, including:

Discovery of a new class of materials, called colossal magnetoresistive materials, that exhibit dramatic changes in electrical resistance when exposed to a magnetic field.
Theories and experiments to determine the mechanisms underlying high-temperature superconductors
Techniques for studying magnetism with X-rays and neutrons
Studies of metal hydrides and other organometallic compounds for various industrial uses, including storage of hydrogen gas for alternative-fuel vehicles
Structural studies of materials under extreme conditions
Pioneering work using X-rays and neutrons to study biological specimens, leading to the modern science of structural biology
Important contributions to chemistry research, including:

Surface studies on metallic layers, adhesives, and more
Studies of chemical reactions using super-fast lasers
Studies of hydrogen bonding in biological molecules
Development of techniques for radiodating of art and artifacts using neutron activation
Understanding of and uses for radiation, including:

Development of early irradiation facilities for food safety, plant breeding, and medical supply sterilization
Testing of the spaceworthiness of satellite and spacecraft parts with heavy ions produced in BNL accelerators
Studies of the effect of radiation on biologial systems important to manned space travel, and to cancer treatment and prevention
Measurement of radiation sensitivity and damage in metals, crystals, and living plant and animal tissue
Measurements of wear in engine parts, which led to the development of multi-grade motor oils such as 10W-30
Development of radionuclides for the life sciences and medicine

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