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The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine
Board on Physics and Astronomy
Division on Engineering and Physical Sciences

Rare Isotope Science Assessment Committee



Scientific Opportunities with a Rare Isotope Facility in the United States

Released December 2006

More than 10 years ago, U.S. nuclear scientists proposed construction of a new rare isotope accelerator in the United States, which would enable experiments to elucidate the important questions in nuclear physics. To help assess this proposal, DOE and NSF asked the NRC to define the science agenda for a next-generation U.S. Facility for Rare Isotope Beams (FRIB). As the study began, DOE announced a substantial reduction in the scope of this facility and put off its initial operation date by several years. The study focused on an evaluation of the science that could be accomplished on a facility reduced in scope. This report provides a discussion of the key science drivers for a FRIB, an assessment of existing domestic and international rare isotope beams, an assessment of the current U.S. position about the FRIB, and a set of findings and conclusions about the scientific and policy context for such a facility.

Committee Members and NRC Staff

John F. Ahearne, Co-Chair, Sigma Xi and Duke University
Stuart J. Freedman, Co-Chair, University of California at Berkeley
Adam S. Burrows, University of Arizona
Ricardo Alarcon, Arizona State University
Peter Braun-Munzinger, GSI
Yanglai Cho, Argonne National Laboratory (retired)*
Richard F. Casten, Yale University
Gerald T. Garvey, Los Alamos National Laboratory
Wick C. Haxton, University of Washington
Robert L. Jaffe, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Noemie B. Koller, Rutgers University
Stephen Libby, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory
Shoji Nagamiya, Japan Proton Accelerator Research Complex
Witold Nazarewicz, University of Tennessee
Michael Romalis, Princeton University
Paul Schmor, TRIUMF
Michael Wiescher, University of Notre Dame
Stanford E. Woosley, University of California at Santa Cruz

*unable to participate because of illness

NRC Staff

Donald C. Shapero, Director
Timothy I. Meyer, Senior Program Officer
Pamela Lewis, Program Associate


The committee is pleased to acknowledge support from the Department of Energy and the National Science Foundation.