Brookhaven hosts hundreds of Ph.D. students every year, and the knowledge they gain working at a national laboratory benefits many fields.
Our latest profile showcases Anuj Purwar, who conducted research at the PHENIX detector at our Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider (RHIC) on his way to a doctorate in experimental nuclear physics. What does someone do with a degree like that, you might wonder?
Purwar is now using what he learned about radiation detectors, linear accelerators, and nuclear physics to improve the cancer-killing beams in radiation machines that target tumors at Varian Medical Systems in Palo Alto, CA.
“Although there are differences—e.g., RHIC is about 2.4 miles around, operates at 200 billion electron volts, and uses superconducting magnets for beam steering, while the Varian linacs are about 1 meter long, top out at 22 million electron volts, and use ordinary electromagnets—my experience at PHENIX with accelerator physics applies directly to what I do every day,” he says.
Exploring the physics of our universe can prepare us to understand the physics of our bodies. After all, we’re all made of star stuff.