Top Scientists Gather, Share Ideas on FRIB at MSU

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More than 220 of the world's top nuclear scientists are gathering right here at Michigan State University.

"So we will meet to confer to decide our plans and forge collaborations," said Robert Grzywacz, a professor at the University of Tennessee.

They're brought together by a common interest in the Facility for Rare Isotope Beams, or FRIB.

"We'll also develop new isotopes that can be used for medicine, for better diagnostics for disease, maybe better treatments for disease," said FRIB's chief scientist Bradley Sherrill.

FRIB will be paid for by the Department of Energy but they won't start building until next year. And then it could be 2018, even 2020 before scientists can actually use the facility.

"Many new kinds of atoms, maybe more than a thousand that scientists couldn't make before, scientists always wanted for their research but couldn't get, we'll make them for the first time here," said Sherrill.

MSU is already number one in the country for graduate nuclear physics programs. With FRIB, it only gets better.

"It will in some cases be tens of thousands times better sometimes even a million times better than what we have available now, so some things that might have taken us a year to do now we can imagine doing in part of a day," Sherrill said.

It's very exciting, especially if you ask scientists that get to shape the field's future.

"It is in our hands," said Grzywacz. "It should be in our hands to decide how the research develops."

A $615 million their hands...and in our backyard.

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