NSCL photo

About NSCL

NSCL enables world class discoveries by pioneering research with rare isotopes. Nuclear physics research began at Michigan State University in 1958. In the decades that followed, MSU became known, both in the United States and worldwide, for its innovations in nuclear science and associated cross-disciplinary research. Major contributions have been made in the fields of nuclear structure, nuclear astrophysics, heavy-ion reaction mechanisms, accelerator physics, beam dynamics and experimental techniques.

NSCL is the source of innovations that improve lives. A medical cyclotron built by the laboratory in the 1980s was used to treat cancer patients at Harper University Hospital in Detroit for more than 15 years. More recently, NSCL technology and design were used in a new, higher-powered medical cyclotron built by Varian Medical Systems. The collaboration agreement, an example of technology transfer that returns benefits to the university, will bring more advanced nuclear therapy to cancer patients in several countries.

Over the years, NSCL has evolved into the largest campus-based nuclear science facility in the country. NSCL is now part of the FRIB Laboratory, which has grown to over 700 employees.  This includes 42 faculty and about 150 students, half of them in doctoral programs. NSCL focuses on education and the development of the next generation of scientists. MSU awards approximately 10 percent of the nation’s nuclear science doctorates and, according to U.S. News & World Report, is the number one program in nuclear physics graduate education. Read more about Research at NSCL here.

Image of an isotope on a button from the app store
Play ISOTOPOLIS on your phone or ipad! Accelerate, steer, and collide particles to make new and rare isotopes in this game from NSCL.
FRIB Building Rendering

About FRIB

The Facility for Rare Isotope Beams (FRIB) will be a new scientific user facility for nuclear science, funded by the Department of Energy Office of Science (DOE-SC), Michigan State University (MSU), and the State of Michigan. Located on campus and operated by MSU, FRIB will provide intense beams of rare isotopes (that is, short-lived nuclei not normally found on Earth).

FRIB will enable scientists to make discoveries about the properties of these rare isotopes in order to better understand the physics of nuclei, nuclear astrophysics, fundamental interactions, and applications for society. As the next-generation accelerator for conducting rare isotope experiments, FRIB will allow scientists to advance their search for answers to fundamental questions about nuclear structure, the origin of the elements in the cosmos, and the forces that shaped the evolution of the universe.

FRIB is expected to provide research opportunities for an international community of university and laboratory scientists, postdoctoral associates, and graduate students. More than 1,300 users are engaged and ready for science at FRIB. They organized themselves in an independent FRIB Users Organization, with 19 working groups specializing in instruments and scientific topics. Members are from 92 U.S. colleges and universities, 10 national laboratories and 51 countries. Furthermore, FRIB will build on MSU’s practice to routinely involve undergraduate and graduate students in research, offering expanded research opportunities.

FRIB is supported by the DOE-SC. The Office of Science is the single largest supporter of basic research in the physical sciences in the United States, and is working to address some of the most pressing challenges of our time. For more information, please visit science.energy.gov.

FRIB is scheduled for completion in 2022 and is being managed to early completion in 2021. Read more about FRIB here.