All students here probably know that Stony Brook University has a partnership with Brookhaven National Lab, but we’re not quite sure what it is or what is its purpose.
I recently went on a field trip with one of my classes and I was surprised to learn so much about this institution.
First of all it is one of the ten labs across the country that is funded by the Department of Energy. Besides Stony Brook University, it is also run by a nonprofit research group called Batelle. It has a budget of around $550 million and almost 3000 employees. It is obviously located in Brookhaven. The different buildings that conform the lab cover about 100 acres, although they have 5000 acres more that is still undeveloped.
They are a research lab that specializes in nuclear physics, medicine, environmental science, energy technology and national security.
During my visit we were able to see a facility called RHIC (Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider) that basically tries to replicate the conditions in the universe immediately after the Big Bang. We also learned about PET scans and drug addiction. PET scans show brain functions and how these are disturbed and often reprogrammed in those individuals who are addicted. Finally we learned about how certain plants and trees are capable of fighting environment contamination by just planting them in or near contaminated soil/water/air/gas.
All of what these scientists are doing really seems very complicated, but they are all very passionate and try to explain everything the best way they can. It is exciting to know that people who are so committed (and so accomplished) are part of our Stony Brook University community.
Pictures from flickr.com and bnl.gov
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