Aronson earned an A.B. (summa cum laude) in physics from Columbia University in 1964, and, as an NSF Graduate Fellow, earned his Ph.D. in physics from Princeton University in 1968. In 1968 he joined the University of Chicago’s Enrico Fermi Institute for Nuclear Studies as a research associate. At the Fermi Institute he conducted experiments in particle physics at Argonne National Laboratory and Fermilab. He continued this research at the University of Wisconsin, where he was a faculty member until 1977.
Aronson joined the Accelerator Department of Brookhaven National Laboratory (BNL) on Long Island in 1978 as an Associate Physicist, where he worked on the design and construction of a high energy proton collider called ISABELLE. He was promoted to Physicist with tenure in 1979. He moved to the BNL Physics Department in 1982, where he conducted research in particle physics at BNL and Fermilab. He was appointed Associate Chair of the Department in 1987 and promoted to Deputy Chair in 1988.
In 1991, Aronson relinquished this position and, as a Senior Physicist, served as the Project Director of the $100M PHENIX Experiment during the construction of BNL’s Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider (RHIC). RHIC and its experiments have made groundbreaking discoveries about nuclear physics and the early Universe since operations began in 2000.
Aronson became Chair of Physics in 2001. He became Associate Laboratory Director for Nuclear and Particle Physics in 2005 and Laboratory Director and President of Brookhaven Science Associates in 2006. He finished his service as Laboratory Director at the end of 2012 and will take on the director of the RIKEN BNL Research Center (RBRC) at BNL in 2013. RBRC is a collaboration between RIKEN Laboratory (Japan) and BNL to promote the study of nuclear physics and related topics. In 2012 Aronson was also elected to the Presidential Line of the American Physical Society and will serve as the Society’s Vice President in 2013, moving up to President in 2015.
Aronson is a Fellow of the American Physical Society and of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. He served as a member of the New York State Governor David Paterson’s Industry-Higher Education Task Force, on numerous project review committees for the DOE Office of Science and on national science review boards in Canada, Sweden and Germany. He currently serves as a board member on the Stony Brook Foundation, and has recently served on the boards of the Long Island Association, Accelerate Long Island the New York State Smart Grid Consortium, the Stony Brook University Advanced Energy Research and Technology Center, the Long Island High Technology Incubator and Governor Andrew Cuomo’s Regional Economic Development Council for Long Island.