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Cyclotron renaming, President's Medal to emeritus professor highlight rededication ceremony

The Indiana University Board of Trustees rededicated and renamed the IU Cyclotron Facility as the Integrated Science and Accelerator Technology (ISAT) Hall at an April meeting.

IU Integrated Science & Accelerator Technology Hall

IU Integrated Science & Accelerator Technology Hall

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Since the mid-1970s the cyclotron has been used to accelerate proton particles to extremely high speeds and energies, which are then used in fundamental scientific research in energy and matter. Originally built by IU faculty and staff in the Department of Physics, for many years it served as a national facility funded by the National Science Foundation for physics research. About a decade ago funding for that research was redistributed to newer facilities elsewhere.

The cyclotron was then converted for use in proton radiation therapy involving proton beams to treat certain types of cancer. A new research focus also emerged for IU physicists to apply a new type of particle accelerator called a low energy neutron source (LENS), also built by IU faculty and staff for the study of materials and molecular structures.

The Board said the building is being renamed to reflect these major changes and these new directions.

ISAT now houses three distinct units -- the Center for Exploration of Energy and Matter (CEEM), IU Cyclotron Operations (IUCO) and the IU Health Proton Therapy Center (formerly Midwest Proton Radiotherapy Institute) -- that each rely in different ways on using beams of accelerated particles, including the proton beams created by the original cyclotrons at ISAT Hall.

IU President Michael A. McRobbie said the ceremony was an opportunity to formalize names and activities of the three units under one, all-encompassing facility name. McRobbie added he would also use the opportunity to recognize distinguished physics professor emeritus Robert Pollock, one of the primary supporters of the creation of the original facility, with a President's Medal.

"With this rededication we emphasize the interrelated and important functions of proton beam production and delivery and the direct relationship to IU's mission of teaching, research and service," McRobbie said. "This ceremony also affords us the opportunity to recognize Dr. Pollock, a major contributor to the success of both the facility and to IU's highly-ranked nuclear physics research group."

IUCO is the IU auxiliary that runs the cyclotron as effectively, efficiently and economically as is possible; CEEM is devoted to inquiry-based research in nuclear, condensed matter and accelerator-based physics; and the IU Health Proton Therapy Center uses the beam for the irradiation of cancerous and benign growths in both adults and children.

The President's Medal, first presented in 1985, recognizes individuals for distinction in public service, service to IU, achievement in a profession and/or extraordinary merit and achievement in the arts, humanities, science, education and industry.

Pollock is recognized as being one of the primary individuals responsible for construction of the cyclotron. He was one of its earliest directors, serving from 1972 to 1979, and he is credited with having conceived, designed and implemented one of the first uses of electron cooling of the proton beam from the cyclotron. For that achievement he shared the 1992 Tom W. Bonner Prize, the highest honor bestowed by the Division of Nuclear Physics of the American Physical Society.

Pollock joined the IU faculty in 1970 and was awarded Distinguished Professor in 1984. A Fellow of the American Physical Society, he also received an Alexander von Humboldt Senior U.S. Scientist Award in 1985.

The rededication and medal ceremonies will take place Thursday (April 14) at 4:30 p.m. following conclusion of the IU Board of Trustee's meeting. The by-invitation event will be held at ISAT Hall.

This article was originally published on April 13, 2011.