MSU's new accelerator attracting talent and jobs

Jan 18, 2011

We hear a lot of talk about people and talent leaving the state.

Today, a story about people and talent coming to the state.

Lorri Higgins writes in today's Detroit Free Press about Michigan State University's National Superconducting Cyclotron Laboratory.

Today, the lab has two superconducting cyclotron accelerators that attract a lot of nuclear physicists to the program. And construction on a new accelerator will begin in a couple of years.

The U.S. Department of Energy is providing funds to build a new $600 million facility, known as the "Facility for Rare Isotope Beams" (FRIB). It's expected to take a decade to build the new accelerator. From an NSCL brochure:

"When completed, the facility will provide intense beams of rare isotopes for a wide variety of studies in nuclear structure, nuclear astrophysics and nuclear theory. FRIB could impact the study of the origin of the elements and the evolution of the cosmos, and offers an opportunity for exploring the limits of nuclear existence and identifying new phenomena, with the possibility that a more broadly applicable theory of nuclei will emerge."

Higgins reports in the Freep that MSU has "landed a coup" when it hired John Weisend of California's SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory last April. The MSU lab director said Weisand is "one of just a few experts on cryogenics engineering in the world." From the Freep:

It took the better part of a year for John Weisend to decide to uproot his family and leave his job at the SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory in California and move to Michigan. But in the end, he decided it was worth it to be part of the launch of one of the world's most powerful research machines.

Weisend said the Facility for Rare Isotope Beams (FRIB) "will in fact be the world-class place to do heavy-ion physics. And it's very exciting to be part of making that possible."