The Department of Energy has selected Michigan State University (MSU) as the site for the future Facility for Rare Isotope Beams (FRIB): press release from DOE. MSU is the current home to the National Superconducting Cyclotron Laboratory, one of the leading nuclear science facilities in the world. The research done at NSCL has helped expand our knowledge of the nature of atomic nuclei and brought insight into how the elements are formed in the interiors of stars and in cataclysmic events like supernovae. NSCL is currently undergoing upgrades to make it the only facility in the world which allows researchers to use stopped, accelerated, and reaccelerated beams. The upgrades are expected to be completed in 2010. In large part due to the presence of NSCL, MSU is ranked second in the nation for graduate programs in nuclear physics.

FRIB will take a decade to design and construct, at a cost of 550 million dollars. Hundreds of jobs are expected to directly result from its construction, with additional boosts to the local economy resulting from the presence of the facility which will attract visiting researchers from all over the world. Like NSCL, FRIB will be used for studying the nucleus of the atom. Insight into the origin of the elements, processes within stars, and possible applications in medical physics and stockpile control are expect results of research in this field.

This is incredibly exciting news. I spent three years working as an undergraduate assistant at NSCL (see my post on helping with an experiment). It was an experience which taught me more about science than any of my classes did. The presence of FRIB at MSU will continue to provide opportunities for students to participate in such research.

Back in October, students at MSU, I included, held a public awareness day about FRIB, educating the student body and local community about MSU’s bid for FRIB and of the implications of winning the bid.

Congratulations MSU and NSCL.


Michigan State has posted its press release later in the day.

NSCL has also posted information.

An extensive press release is on the DOE page.

More information about the impact of the decision on MSU.