Interview with Phiala Shanahan, assistant professor of physics in the Center for Theoretical Physics at MIT. Shanahan explains the administrative relationship between the department and the Center, and she recounts her childhood in Adelaide, Australia, her experiences at an all-girls school and the benefits this conferred in nurturing her interest in science. She discusses her concentration in computational physics and the mass of the H-dibaryon at the University of Adelaide and her decision to stay on with her undergraduate advisors, Anthony Thomas and Ross Young, for graduate school. Shanahan describes her interest in the proton radius puzzle as a research entry point for her thesis work and why she was interested in how particle physics can be connected more rigorously to quarks, gluons, and ultimately chemistry. She describes the opportunities leading to her postdoctoral research at MIT and some of the cultural adjustments she had to make coming from Australia. Shanahan discusses her collaboration with Will Detmold and she describes her contributions to the NPL-QCD research project and she discusses her first faculty appointment at William & Mary before returning to MIT where she remains in her current appointment and where she is pursuing work on proton structures and in creating ever-faster algorithms. She describes the potential benefits that would be conferred with the availability of true quantum computing for her field, and she describes some of the difficulties she has faced as a woman in getting recognized for her accomplishments in her field of research. At the end of the interview, she emphasizes why her long-term goal is to bridge nuclear physics and chemistry, and why she wants to keep an open mind about pursuing other areas that are both interesting and offer the opportunity to push forward discovery in foundational ways.
Interview with Wick Haxton, professor of physics at UC Berkeley. Haxton recounts his childhood in Santa Cruz and his early interests in math and science. He describes his undergraduate education at the newly created UC Santa Cruz where his initial interest was in mathematics before he was given the advice that he did “mathematics like a physicist.” Haxton discusses his graduate work at Stanford where his original intent was to study general relativity before he connected with Dirk Walecka and Bill Donnelly to focus on nuclear theory and dense nuclear matter. He discusses his postdoctoral research at the University of Mainz where he concentrated on photo-pion physics during the early days of chiral perturbation theory, and he explains the opportunities that led to his next appointment at the LAMPF facility at Los Alamos. Haxton emphasizes the excellence of both his colleagues and the computational capacity at the Lab, and he describes his faculty appointment at Purdue and the solar neutrino experiment he contributed to in Colorado. He explains the opportunities that led to him joining the faculty at the University of Washington where the DOE was about to fund the Institute for Nuclear Theory. Haxton explains the “breakup” between nuclear theory and particle theory and how the INT addressed that. Haxton discusses the opportunities afforded at the INT to engage in nuclear astrophysics and he explains the rise and fall of the Homestake DUSEL project. He explains his decision to go emeritus at UW and to join the faculty at UC Berkeley and to be dual hatted at the Berkeley Lab, and he describes his tenure as department chair. At the end of the interview, Haxton describes his current work organizing the new Physics Frontier Center and the challenges presented by the pandemic, and he credits his formative time as Los Alamos for the diverse research agenda he has pursued throughout his career.
Interview with Warren W. Buck, Chancellor Emeritus, Professor of Physics Emeritus at the University of Washington at Bothell, and Adjunct Professor of Physics and Special Advisor to the President for Equity in the 21st Century at William and Mary. Buck recounts his upbringing in segregated Washington DC, his early interests in science, and the opportunities that led to his admission to Lincoln University for his undergraduate degree before transferring to Morgan State. He discusses the racial strife and the civil rights movements of the late 1960s, his interest in physics as an undergraduate, and his decision to pursue a graduate degree at William and Mary. He explains his decision to leave after getting a master’s degree to teach at Bowie State and to be more involved in Black student organizing, and he describes his thesis research on deuteron theory under the direction of Franz Gross. Buck describes sailing in the Bahamas after graduate school and his appointments at Stony Brook and Los Alamos, and he explains his interests in nucleon-nucleon interactions. He describes a formative research year in Paris and his subsequent faculty position at Hampton University, his collaboration with Jefferson Lab, and his work introducing theoretical mesonic form factors. Buck discusses meeting Lillian McDermott and his recruitment to help build a new UW satellite campus at Bothell as chancellor. He surveys his accomplishments in that role and explains his decision to retire, and at the end of the interview, Buck discusses his interest in Buddhism and how Buddhist philosophy can be understood in the context of nuclear theory.
Gerassimos Petratos joined the Hall A collaboration at the Thomas Jefferson Accelerator Facility in 1989. This interview explains his work with the collaboration, which included coordinating the organization of the collaboration, overseeing the development of Hall A detectors, and then scheduling experiments and helping with commissioning.
In this interview R. J. Holt discusses topics such as: his graduate education at Yale University; Continuous Electron Beam Acclerator Facility (CEBAF)/Jefferson Laboratory; Don Geesaman; particle physics; HERMES experiment; University of Illinois and Urbana-Champaign; spectrometers; Stanford Linear Accelerator Center (SLAC).
In this interview Donald Geesaman discusses topics such as: Argonne National Laboratory; Dirk Walecka; hadron physics; Roy Holt; Herman Feshbach; Stanford Linear Accelerator Center (SLAC); Nuclear Science Advisory Committee (NSAC); Bernard Mecking; Continuous Electron Beam Accelerator Facility (CEBAF); Gerry Garvey; quarks; Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory (Fermilab); Jefferson Laboratory; nuclear physics; University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign; Larry Cardman; Keith Baker; relativistic heavy ion (RHIC) experiments.
Dr. Geesaman, a distinguished Argonne National Laboratory physicist and former head of the Argonne Physics Division, explained the beginning of his career and what he remembers of the beginnings of the experimental program at the Thomas Jefferson National Accelerator Facility (JLab). He also discussed the major achievements of the program.
H. Frederick Dylla discusses topics such as: ruby laser; Bell Laboratories; RCA Engineering Research Center, Canton, New Jersey; Edgerton, Germeshausen, and Grier, Inc. (EG&G); Harold Edgerton; Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT); Franklin Instiutte; Richard Feynman; Mark Zemansky; Princeton University; John King; molecular beams; atomic clocks; bachelors work on acoustics; masters research on low temperature physics; doctoral research on surface physics; Ted Madey; John Yates; Jim Murday; Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory; tokamaks; Sandia National Laboratories; Ray Weiss; Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO); benefits of professional societies; Manfred Kaminsky; Argonne National Laboratory; AVS; Journal of Vacuum Science and Technology; National Bureau of Standards (NBS); National Institute for Standards and Technology (NIST); Paul Redhead; National Research Council (NRC), Canada; Dennis Manos; College of William and Mary; John Coburn; Harold Winters; Continuous Electron Beam Accelerator Facility (CEBAF); Southeastern Universities Research Association (SURA); George Neil; Jefferson Laboratory; free electron lasers; Star Wars program; electron beam accelerator; linear accelerator (LINAC); Rey Whetten; American Institute of Physics.
Engineers Venkatarao Ganni and Dana Arenius came to the Thomas Jefferson National Accelerator Facility (JLab) after time spent in industry (and in Ganni's case, at the Superconducting Super Collider). They explain how they came to the lab and the challenges of developing the Central Helium Liquefier (CHL), a cutting edge cryogenics device needed for JLab's superconducting radiofrequency accelerator.