When Michigan State University’s Facility for Rare Isotope Beams (FRIB) officially opened with a ribbon-cutting event on May 2, ANS Executive Director/Chief Executive Officer Craig Piercy was there to celebrate the result of many years of hard work.
“Big congratulations to MSU for bringing this project to fruition on time and on budget,” Piercy said. “FRIB will allow scientists to probe the origins of stars and the fundamental structure of matter and explore new life-saving medical treatments.”
Piercy worked closely with MSU’s FRIB team for several years before and after the university was selected over Argonne National Laboratory to host the facility, and he has seen the project come full circle. He was present at both the groundbreaking in 2014 and the ribbon-cutting ceremony in May.
“I was honored to be part of the FRIB project team for 17 years during the scoping, competition, siting, and construction of the facility,” Piercy said. “However, the true heroes are the scientists and engineers who brought FRIB from scientific vision to concrete reality. They’ve popped the champagne, and now the hard part begins as they ramp up the machine and actually do experiments.”
FRIB’s linear accelerator is capable of propelling ionized atoms to half the speed of light to produce collisions that will supply researchers with more than 1,000 rare isotopes, many never before produced on Earth. Those rare and short-lived isotopes are expected to answer fundamental questions about nuclear physics and the origins of the universe and lead to practical applications in medicine, energy, security, the environment, and industry.