Former NSCL graduate student awarded 2019 Tom W. Bonner Prize in Nuclear Physics

The American Physical Society awarded former NSCL graduate student Barbara Jacak the 2019 Tom W. Bonner Prize in Nuclear Physics. The Bonner Prize is awarded annually to recognize and encourage outstanding experimental research in nuclear physics. Jacak received the Bonner Prize “for her leadership in the discovery and characterization of the quark-gluon plasma, in particular for her contributions to the PHENIX experiment and its explorations of jets as probes.”

Jacak received her PhD from MSU for her research at NSCL in 1984 working under the supervision of University Distinguished Professor of Physics Gary Westfall. Her thesis was entitled “Fragment Production in Intermediate Energy Heavy Ion Reactions.”

Jacak continued her career after MSU as a J.R. Oppenheimer Fellow at Los Alamos National Laboratory and later as a staff scientist there. In 1997, she joined Stony Brook University as a professor and led the Relativistic Heavy Ion Group working with the PHENIX Collaboration at RHIC. In 2006, Jacak was elected as the spokesperson of the PHENX Collaboration at the Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider (RHIC). She was elected to be a member of the National Academy of Science in 2009. Jacak became the director of the Nuclear Science Division at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and joined the faculty of the Department of Physics at the University of California at Berkeley in 2015.