Academic and Technical Information

National Superconducting Cyclotron Laboratory (NSCL) is a world leader in rare isotope research and nuclear science education. Located on the campus of Michigan State University (MSU), NSCL scientists and researchers employ a wide range of tools for conducting advanced research in fundamental nuclear science, nuclear astrophysics and accelerator physics.

NSCL is home to more than 700 visiting scientists and 400 employees.

Funded primarily by the National Science Foundation and MSU, NSCL operates two superconducting cyclotrons. The K500 was the world's first cyclotron to use superconducting magnets and our K1200 is the highest-energy continuous beam accelerator in the nation. Using these and other related devices, we have learned more about the origins of the elements in the cosmos. Having coupled the two cyclotrons to make even rarer isotopes, we continue to gain a better understanding of atomic nuclei.

As NSCL continues to push the field forward, several new and exciting developments will take place over the coming years centering on superconducting radio frequency (SRF) cavities. Work is being done that will give the lab world-unique abilities to cool fast beams of rare isotopes before reaccelerating them to energies relevant to nucleosynthesis processes in stars. Beams at 8 to 10 percent of the speed of light - rather than 50 percent - will allow scientists to perform experiments not otherwise possible on fast beams. The SRF technology that will allow these experiments to be done will also be used on the Facility for Rare Isotope Beams (FRIB). Financed by the Department of Energy, FRIB will be a new user facility subsuming much of the current NSCL facility.

More than 700 scientists from the United States and abroad have come to NSCL. They recognize NSCL for its nuclear physics research and innovations in accelerator design. NSCL and MSU are international leaders in research. Our faculty, mentors, business partners — and the quality of life here — rival those of any other educational institution.

Here, the next generation of scientists joins with experience scientific leadership from around the globe to advance knowledge and gain profession experience and accomplishment. And to top it off, U.S. News and World Report ranks the MSU nuclear physics Ph.D. program as number one in the nation.

Chances are that you’ve already met one of our prestigious alumni. With almost 40 years behind us, we now have an alumni network that includes people in high-ranking positions all over the world. Some are faculty members and researchers; others work in national laboratories; yet others are leaders in industry and executives with major corporations. A graduate degree from NSCL prepares you for success in any career.

Whether you are interested in studying nuclear physics as an undergraduate, graduate or post-doc, or simply know a bit about nuclear physics and want to delve deeper, you’ve come to the right place.