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Bolek Wyslouch named director of the Laboratory for Nuclear Science

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Bolek Wyslouch
Bolek Wyslouch
Photo: Justin Knight

Boleslaw "Bolek" Wyslouch, professor of physics, has been named the new director of the Laboratory of Nuclear Science (LNS), effective July 1.

“Bolek is a superb physicist who has a clear vision for the future of LNS and the strong support of its members,” Michael Sipser, dean of the School of Science, says. “I am delighted that he has agreed to be the next LNS director, and I look forward to working with him.”

Wyslouch will succeed Richard Milner, professor of physics. Milner has served in a leadership capacity at LNS since 1998, first as director of the Bates Linear Accelerator Center (a part of LNS) and then, beginning in 2006, as director of LNS.

“It has been an honor and privilege for me to serve in a senior administrative role in LNS for 17 years,” Milner says. “LNS is the model for carrying out large-scale, international, collaborative research at a university. Professor Wyslouch will be an excellent LNS director, and I am certain that LNS will continue to flourish under his leadership.”

The largest university-based program of its kind in the country, LNS was established in 1946 to provide support for basic research in the fields of nuclear and high-energy physics. “Scientists at the Laboratory are among the world leaders in particle and nuclear physics,” Wyslouch says. “We explore the fundamental properties of matter at accelerators, in space, and in underground laboratories. We develop theories that explain the subatomic world as well as the functioning of the universe as a whole. We build and operate state of the art particle detectors, conduct massive computations, and develop computational techniques.”

"I am very excited to be the new director of the Laboratory for Nuclear Science. I am very fortunate to take over the directorship from Richard Milner, who skillfully led the laboratory for the last nine years,” Wyslouch continued. “Recent construction and upgrades of accelerators, the commissioning of new detectors, and the development of new observational techniques around the world are opening up exciting research opportunities. I am looking forward to supporting LNS faculty, research scientists, postdocs, and students on the road to new discoveries in fundamental physics."

Wyslouch has significant experience in research and administrative leadership. Since 2013, he has served as the head of the Nuclear and Particle Physics Division of the Department of Physics. In addition, he is one of the founders and leaders of the heavy ion program in the Compact Muon Solenoid (CMS) experiment at the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) at CERN in Geneva, Switzerland.

Wyslouch studies extremely hot and dense states of nuclear matter, focusing on the very energetic collisions of heavy ions. The earliest runs of the LHC showed that hot plasma strongly suppressed production of high-energy jets, redistributing the jet energy among slow particles. Wyslouch’s CMS group further discovered surprisingly strong collective effects in ion-ion collisions, as well as in proton-proton and proton-ion collisions.

Before joining CMS, Wyslouch conducted multiple high-energy and nuclear experiments at CERN and at the Brookhaven National Laboratory RHIC facility, and took a leadership role at Brookhaven in creating PHOBOS, a project designed to create and study a quark-gluon plasma.

After completing his undergraduate work in physics at the University of Warsaw in 1981, Wyslouch began his association with MIT as a doctoral student, earning a PhD in physics in 1987. After postdoctoral appointments at LNS and CERN, he joined the MIT faculty in the Department of Physics in 1991.

Wyslouch was recognized for his contribution to education at MIT with a 2004 William W. Buechner Teaching Prize. He was elected as a fellow of the American Physical Society in 2013.

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