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VIPP Explores the National Superconducting Cyclotron Laboratory

Published: Thursday, 15 Dec 2016
Author: VIPP
Department: Visiting International Professional Program

Do you know that Michigan State University (MSU) has the largest campus-based nuclear science facility in the U.S.? The National Superconducting Cyclotron Laboratory (NSCL) at MSU, home of cutting-edge scientific research on atomic nuclei, secured new funding up to $122.5 million from the National Science Foundation (NSF). The new agreement between MSU and NSF will fund pioneering research in nuclear and accelerator science as well as continue operations of NSCL as one of the world's flagship nuclear science research facilities.

Even the MSU community does not know much about it, let alone visiting scholars and students. That is why the Visiting International Professional Program (VIPP) at MSU arranged a tour to visit NSCL. Todd Bradley, instructor of VIPP's "Discovering MSU" class took our visiting scholars to NSCL to introduce another pride of MSU.

Zachary Constan, Outreach coordinator at National Superconducting Cyclotron Laboratory (NSCL) guided visiting international scholars through the facility. Todd Bradley, instructor of "Discovering MSU," an innovative class within VIPP, arranged the tour.

Since 1958 when nuclear physics research began at MSU, MSU became known for its innovations in nuclear science and research both in the United States and worldwide. According to U.S. News & World Report, MSU is No. 1 in Nuclear Physics graduate program and awards approximately 10 percent of the nation's nuclear science doctorates. Research outcomes from NSCL are being used for medical treatments and security technology. FYI: This is NOT a facility for nuclear weapon research!

VIPP Participants walked through vaults where nuclei are accelerated and filtered. Photo Courtesy of NSCL/ FRIB.

MSU started construction to build the new Facility for Rare Isotope Beams (FRIB) which will be connected to the current NSCL building. Rare Isotope beams is short-lived versions of the elements not normally found on Earth. Its study has potential applications in areas such as health care and homeland security. Photo Courtesy of NSCL/ FRIB.

Although our visiting scholars were not familiar with nuclear research they found it exciting to look around the facility. Participants were impressed by the scope and depth of fundamental research going on at MSU and especially the fact that more than 100 undergraduate students are actively involved in research at NSCL every year. They promised to return to MSU when the brand new Facility for Rare Isotope Beams (FRIB) opens in 2021. Indeed, there are a lot of reasons to be a proud Spartan. Go Green! Go White!

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