Brookhaven National Laboratory

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Aerial view of Brookhaven National Laboratory. The RHIC ring is visible in the background.

Brookhaven National Laboratory (BNL), is a United States national laboratory located in Upton, New York on Long Island, and was formally established in 1947 at the site of Camp Upton, a former U.S. Army base. Its name stems from its location in the greater area of Brookhaven township. The laboratory is unique to Upton and boasts its own police station, fire department, and postal code - 11973. In total, the lab spans a 5,265 acre (21 km²) area.

Brookhaven is operated for the United States Department of Energy by Brookhaven Science Associates, and it specializes in nuclear physics research. It is staffed by over 3,000 scientists, engineers, technicians, and support personnel, and hosts 4,000 guest investigators every year. Discoveries made at the lab have won six Nobel Prizes. Facilities at Brookhaven Lab include the Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider (RHIC), designed to research quark-gluon plasma, the National Synchrotron Light Source (NSLS), and two cyclotrons used to produce radioactive materials for medical applications. Areas of research include nuclear and high-energy physics, physics and chemistry of materials, environmental and energy research, nonproliferation, neurosciences and medical imaging, as well as structural biology. Brookhaven National Laboratory is the only national laboratory within the Northeast United States. The Lab is the fifth largest high-tech employer on Long Island.[citation needed]

The funding provided to BNL fluctuates with each year’s federal budget. In lieu of a real budget for 2007, the Department of Energy will be providing significant funding for BNL’s two key machines. Both the RHIC and a proposed new national synchrotron light source will be receiving $25 million each for the year.

An accidental, highly publicized leakage of tritium into the groundwater during the 1990s angered people living near the lab, and led to management changes.

The lab helped discover the charm quark in 1974.

In addition to their own laboratory, Brookhaven is a contributing partner to ATLAS, one of the four detectors to be located at a new powerful accelerator, the Large Hadron Collider (LHC). It is currently under construction near Geneva, Switzerland.

Brookhaven is also responsible for the design of the SNS accumulator ring in partnership with Spallation Neutron Source, the world’s foremost neutron scattering science facility.

The lab is open to the public on Sundays during the summer for tours and special programs, helping its connection with the surrounding community. The program is referred to as 'Summer Sundays' and takes place from mid-July to mid-August. It features, most notably, a science show and a tour of the facilities. The laboratory also hosts science fairs, science bowls, and robotics competitions for schools in the surrounding area. Per year the Lab estimates that it enhances the science education of roughly 24,000 kindergarten to 12th grade LI students, more than 100 undergraduates, and 550 teachers from across the nation.

Co-located with the laboratory is the Upton, New York forecast office of the National Weather Service.

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