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Facility for Rare Isotope Beams Laboratory

Thomas Glasmacher, Director

Located on south campus, the Facility for Rare Isotope Beams (FRIB) Laboratory is the world’s leading laboratory for education and research in rare isotope science, and a leading laboratory in accelerator science and in applications of rare isotopes to meet societal needs. The laboratory builds on the expertise and the achievements of the operating National Superconducting Cyclotron Laboratory (NSCL) as it establishes FRIB, which will extend the frontier of nuclear science through unprecedented discovery potential. The FRIB Laboratory is a major administrative unit within Michigan State University, comprised of NSCL and the FRIB Project. The laboratory staff of approximately 800 includes faculty, postdoctoral fellows, technicians, engineers, and graduate and undergraduate students.

The FRIB Laboratory contributes to the education of a quarter of the next generation of nuclear scientists in the United States. The U.S. News and World Report ranks MSU’s nuclear physics Ph.D. graduate program #1 in the nation. Typically, about 110 graduate students from MSU and other universities use the laboratory’s facilities for their graduate work in experimental or theoretical nuclear physics, nuclear chemistry, or accelerator physics. The doctoral degree programs are administered through academic departments, primarily Physics and Astronomy, Chemistry, and Engineering departments. Admission and program of study are subject to the regulations of the appropriate department. The FRIB Laboratory plays an important role in undergraduate education, providing experience for undergraduate students in a highly stimulating environment where students are exposed to forefront nuclear science research and technologies ranging from applied superconductivity to accelerators designed for cancer therapy.  The laboratory employs about 160 undergraduate students.

NSCL is America’s premier rare isotope facility. It operates as a national user facility funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF) Physics Division. NSCL facilities are available to MSU faculty and students and to scientists from all over the world on the basis of scientific merit. NSCL provides beams of rare isotopes (short-lived nuclei not normally found on Earth), that can be used with new research capabilities for stopped and reaccelerated beams, enabling researchers to explore the inner workings of atoms and their role in the universe.

The FRIB Project is a new $730-million facility under construction now, to be completed by 2022. FRIB will ensure the nation’s continued competitiveness in nuclear science by using next-generation technology needed for next-generation rare isotope experiments. FRIB will enable scientific research with fast, stopped, and reaccelerated rare isotope beams produced by in-beam fragmentation. MSU is establishing FRIB with financial assistance from the Office of Nuclear Physics in the U.S. Department of Energy Office of Science (DOE-SC).

FRIB will incorporate NSCL assets, supporting a community of approximately 1,400 scientists from around the world. Upon completion of the FRIB Project, the DOE-SC will fund operations of the FRIB Laboratory as a national user facility, and NSF support of NSCL operations will end.

For more information visit or or call 1-517-355-9672.