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S.Y. Lee
IU Cyclotron Facility

Hal Kibbey
IU Media Relations

Last modified: Thursday, August 25, 2005

IU physicist S.Y. Lee honored by Germany's Humboldt Foundation

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- Internationally known physicist Shyh-Yuan Lee of Indiana University has received a Humboldt Research Award from the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation in Bonn, Germany, to honor his many achievements in the physics of particle accelerators.

The Humboldt Foundation grants up to 100 Humboldt Research Awards annually "to scientists and scholars from abroad with internationally recognized academic qualifications. The research award honors the academic achievements of the award winner's lifetime. Furthermore, award winners are invited to carry out research projects of their own choice in Germany in cooperation with colleagues for periods of between six months and one year," according to a statement by the foundation.

"S.Y. Lee is an extremely gifted and productive scientist, and we are quite pleased to see him receive the recognition he so richly deserves," said IU Cyclotron Facility Director Paul Sokol. "He has had an immense impact on accelerator physics both directly, through his own efforts, and indirectly, through the efforts of the numerous students he has trained. The impact of his work also extends far beyond the field of accelerator physics. His work enabled many of the groundbreaking experiments in a broad range of fields, from fundamental studies of the structure of the nucleus to applied studies of materials. His work on the design of the Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider at Brookhaven National Laboratory is just one example of this. Hundreds of scientists, including a large group from IU, are using this machine to study the fundamental properties of the nucleus such as where the proton gets its spin. There are numerous other examples of the impact of his work, and it is gratifying to see his contribution publicly honored."

"S.Y. Lee is in demand all over the world" because of his skills as an accelerator physicist, said Professor Emeritus John Cameron, who served as IUCF director from 1987 to 2004. "But especially outstanding is his work as a mentor and trainer for young physicists. During the 1990s, he trained 10 percent of all the accelerator physicists who received Ph.D. degrees in the United States. Today they are working at accelerators all over the country."

Lee, a professor of physics at IU Bloomington, joined the faculty of the IU Cyclotron Facility in 1990. There he formed an accelerator physics group that carried out a series of nonlinear beam dynamics and beam cooling experiments at the IUCF Cooler Ring. Results of those experiments serve today as basic principles of manipulating particle beams.

Lee was also a co-spokesperson for the partial snake experiments at the Alternating Gradient Synchrotron at Brookhaven National Laboratory. Lee, jointly with Brookhaven's Steve Tepikian, predicted the existence of a new kind of depolarization resonances, called snake resonances, in synchrotrons equipped with spin rotators called "snakes." The snake resonance was first observed at the Cooler Ring at IUCF and at Brookhaven's proton-proton collider. Understanding these resonances has led to new ways to overcome them and produce at Brookhaven the highest-energy polarized proton beams in the world. Such beams will make possible a thorough investigation of how the spin of the proton originates from the quarks and gluons of which the proton is made, a mystery that has puzzled physicists for almost two decades.

Since joining IU, Lee has published two graduate textbooks on accelerator physics and has been co-editor of three workshop proceedings. He served as director of the United States Particle Accelerator School from 1997 to 2001.

Lee will spend the 2005-06 academic year based at Gesellschaft fur Schwerionenforschung mbH, a laboratory in Darmstadt, Germany, that performs basic research in nuclear physics and atomic physics as well as experimental medical radiation treatment of cancer with heavy ion beams.