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Bradley M. Sherrill receives 2018 Tom W. Bonner Prize in Nuclear Physics

Bradley M. Sherrill, director of the National Superconducting Cyclotron Laboratory (NSCL) and University Distinguished Professor of Physics & Astronomy at Michigan State University (MSU), was awarded the 2018 Tom W. Bonner Prize in Nuclear Physics by the American Physical Society (APS).

The APS is a nonprofit organization with 54,000 members that works to advance and spread knowledge of physics via publications, scientific meetings, education, and public outreach. The Tom W. Bonner Prize is awarded annually to recognize and encourage outstanding experimental research in nuclear physics, including the development of a method, technique, or device that significantly contributes in a general way to nuclear physics research.

[Photo of Prof. Brad Sherrill]

Sherrill received the award due to his scientific leadership in the development and utilization of instruments and techniques for discovery and exploration of exotic nuclei, and for his community leadership in explaining the physics of rare isotope beams and advancing the realization of the Facility for Rare Isotope Beams (FRIB), under construction now at MSU.

“I am very grateful to the APS for the recognition of the work we do,” said Sherrill. “Being a part of NSCL and FRIB has allowed me to produce and study rare isotopes that have revolutionized our understanding of atomic nuclei and their role in stars.”

Sherrill received his undergraduate degree from Coe College in Iowa and his M.S. (1982) and Ph.D. (1985) degrees in Physics from Michigan State University. Following his Ph.D., he did postdoctoral work at GSI in Germany. He joined NSCL in 1986, and is now the NSCL director, the scientific director for FRIB, and a University Distinguished Professor at MSU. His research addresses the production and study of rare isotopes and their role in the universe. He led the design and construction of the A1200 fragment separator at NSCL, was project manager for construction of the S800 spectrometer, and helped design the A1900 fragment separator there. He has been a member of the MSU Department of Physics & Astronomy since 1991 and has taught introductory physics and astronomy to science and non-science students.

He is a Fellow of the APS and a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and won the 1986 Division of Nuclear Physics (DNP) Dissertation Award and the 2014 DNP Distinguished Service Award. Additionally, he has served on advisory committees for many laboratories around the world and the Nuclear Science Advisory Committee to the U.S. Department of Energy and National Science Foundation.

“Brad has been a visionary for the nation’s rare isotope efforts for many years, and NSCL and FRIB greatly benefit from his scientific expertise,” said FRIB Laboratory Director Thomas Glasmacher. “He truly deserves this recognition for his leadership and commitment to our field.”

Sherrill’s work with the nuclear science community helped to explain the need for FRIB and how the rare isotopes it will produce will answer fundamental questions regarding the stability of atomic nuclei and the origin of elements in the cosmos. He has also promoted the use of isotopes from FRIB for medical and industrial applications.

“We are building FRIB to answers basic questions in nuclear science, but I am also excited about the potential major discoveries that will impact our everyday lives,” said Sherrill.

Sherrill will be presented with the award at a special APS ceremony on 15 April 2018.

{photo courtesy of NSCL}