MSU hosts U.S. Particle Accelerator School

  • Jun 15, 2018
  • U.S. Particle Accelerator School, Students, education
  • Homepage News, Faculty & Staff, Research, Students, Physics & Astronomy
Image of students participating in Accelerator School
A team of USPAS students measuring the characteristics of a radiofrequency cavity during an afternoon lab session in the Accelerator Fundamentals class. Photo courtesy of Irina Novitski.

Michigan State University is hosting the summer 2018 session of the U.S. Particle Accelerator School, a national graduate-level training and workforce development program in accelerator science and engineering funded by the Office of High Energy Physics in the U.S. Department of Energy Office of Science (DOE-SC).

Particle accelerators are used in discovery science, medicine and high-tech industry. USPAS trains graduate students as well as scientists and engineers in rigorous courses that are designed to support the needs of the field.

More than 130 students from around the world are attending this intensive two-week session of USPAS, which includes nine courses. This is the third time that MSU has hosted USPAS. Of the 22 instructors teaching at this summer’s school, nine are from MSU. The MSU instructors are experts in accelerator physics, ion source physics and cryogenic engineering. They are affiliated with FRIB, the National Superconducting Cyclotron Laboratory, MSU’s physics and astronomy department and MSU’s mechanical engineering department.

Since 1981, USPAS has been recognized for excellence, and the school has had a positive impact on the field. The school is intended to not only to meet the needs of national laboratories, but also to educate people to develop particle accelerators for use in other fields, including industrial and medical applications.

Under construction on the MSU campus is the Facility for Rare Isotope Beams (FRIB), a future DOE-SC scientific user facility, supporting the mission of the Nuclear Physics Office in DOE-SC. At the heart of FRIB is the most powerful, superconducting linear accelerator that will accelerate heavy ions to about half the speed of light. FRIB will enable scientists to make discoveries about the properties of rare isotopes, supporting a community of currently 1,400 scientists. 

Having a trained workforce in accelerator science and engineering is an important part of FRIB. 

FRIB provides hands-on opportunities to train the next-generation accelerator science and engineering workers on a world-class accelerator. In collaboration with the College of Natural Science and the College of Engineering, FRIB attracts the best and brightest students into accelerator science and engineering.

“MSU has been a superb host of USPAS,” said Steve Lund, a physics professor with joint appointments in FRIB and the Department of Physics and Astronomy, and USPAS director. “Courses are taking place in unique facilities on campus and the departments have sent many talented students and have provided a high level of instructor and grader support.”

USPAS sessions take place in June and January. The students are highly selected and motivated. They are from laboratories, private companies, government or the military. Some of the students have been working in the accelerator field and are expanding their skills to support and extend the latest technology as the field evolves.

USPAS collaborators are: MSU, Argonne National Laboratory, Brookhaven National Laboratory, Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory and Thomas Jefferson National Accelerator Facility, all U.S. DOE Office of Science labs; Los Alamos National Laboratory, a U.S. DOE National Nuclear Security Agency lab; and Cornell University.


Banner image: More than 130 students attended the summer session of U.S. Particle School, which took place at MSU. Photo by Irina Novitski