Timeline

D
1946

AUI is Chartered

  • to acquire, plan, construct and operate laboratories and other facilities that would unite the resources
E
1950

Brookhaven National Laboratory Opens

D
1956

DNA Imaging

  • Brookhaven researchers discover a new way to study DNA and produce a photographic image of DNA synthesis in plant roots
E
1956

NRAO & GBO Are Developed

  • AUI begins managing the National Radio Astronomy Observatory and Green-bank Observatory for the National Science Foundation
D
1956

Nobel Prize – Parity Violation

  • T. D. Lee of Columbia University and Brookhaven scientist C. N. Yang used the Cosmotron particle accelerator at Brookhaven to discover that particles that had the same masses, lifetimes, and scattering behaviors decayed differently
E
1958

The First Video Game

  • What is arguably the world’s first video game, Tennis for Two, is unveiled by William Higinbotham at a Brookhaven visitors day exhibit, approximately 14 years before the first home video game system and Pong.
D
1959

First Medical Research Reactor

  • Regular operations begin at the Brookhaven Medical Research Reactor. BNL’s nuclear medicine program beginning in 1950 leads to common use of two radioisotopes: technetium-99m, the most widely used radioisotope in nuclear medicine, and thallium-201, used in heart stress tests
E
1961

Early PET Scanners Developed

  • Chemists at Brookhaven Lab studying how to detect small brain tumors through nuclear medicine collaborate with Brookhaven’s Instrumentation Division and build a circular detector that becomes a precursor to today’s Positron Emission Tomography (PET) scanner
D
1963

First Digital Autocorrelator is Built

  • And used on a 85 foot Tatel telescope
E
1967

Parkinson’s Treatment

  • George Cotzias and his group at Brookhaven Lab’s Medical Center begin their research on using L-dopa to successfully treat patients with Parkinson’s disease
D
1968

Maglev Transportation is Patented

  • Powell and BNL colleague Gordon Danby worked out a MagLev concept using static magnets mounted on a moving vehicle to induce electrodynamic lifting and stabilizing forces in specially shaped loops
E
1969

Interstellar Chemistry is Discovered

  • Formaldehyde, the first organic molecules found in interstellar clouds, is detected using the 140 Foot telescope at Green Bank, marking the beginning of the study of organic chemistry in the interstellar medium
D
1973

The Very Large Array Begins Construction

  • Congressional approval for the VLA project was given in August 1972, and construction began some six months later. The first antenna was put into place in September 1975. The complex was formally inaugurated in 1980
E
1976

Nobel Prize for the J/Psi Particle

  • Ting is credited for finding what he called the “J” particle, the same particle as the “psi” found at nearly the same time by Burton Richter
D
1979

Ultraviolet Light and Cancer

  • Brookhaven biologist Richard Setlow’s experiments show exposure to two forms of ultraviolet (UV) light—both A and B—could lead to malignant melanoma. Previously, only exposure to UV-B was believed to induce such cancers
E
1980

Nobel Prize for CP Violation

  • In 1980, the physics Nobel went to two researchers whose discovery at Brookaven’s Alternating Gradient Synchrotron (AGS) was the opposite of what they had expected to find when they began their experiment in 1963
D
1984

The T7 Expression System

  • Brookhaven Lab’s Bill Studier and several colleagues develop the T7 expression system, a tool that can direct E. coli cells to produce useful amounts of almost any protein. Scientists around the world use the T7 system to obtain individual proteins for analyzing how they work
E
1986

VLBA Construction Begins

  • Construction on first VLBA antenna begins at Pie Town New Mexico
D
1988

Nobel Prize for the Muon-Neutrino

  • The 1988 Nobel Prize in physics was awarded to a trio of researchers for their 1962 discovery of the muon-neutrino. Leon Lederman, Melvin Schwartz and Jack Steinberger, at the time all of Columbia University, made their discovery at the new Alternating Gradient Synchrotron
E
1991

Dark Matter Discovered

  • The VLA maps the extended distribution of HI around galaxies, implying the existence of dark matter (300-ft & 140-ft). Dark Matter is a hypothetical form of matter that is thought to account for approximately 85% of the matter in the universe and about a quarter of its total energy density
D
1991

The Fingerprints of Space

  • Molecules such as the ones found and observed by the 36-foot are most common in the densely packed regions of space near the center of our Galaxy and out in its spiral arms where clouds collapse into new stars. The 36-foot was helpful in tracing the shapes of the arms and thus the structure of our Galaxy
E
1991

NGC 4258

  • Messier 106 (AKA NGC 4258) has played an important role in calibrating the cosmic distance ladder. M106 contains Cepheid variables similar to both the metallicities of the Milky Way and other galaxies’ Cepheids. This allowed astronomers to recalibrate the other Cepheids with different metallicities, improving quantification of distances to other galaxies in the universe
D
1993

Discovery of First Binary Pulsar

  • Russell Hulse and Joseph Taylor shared the Nobel Prize in physics for the discovery of the first binary pulsar while at the University of Massachusetts Amherst in 1974. The discovery of a new type of pulsar, opened up new possibilities for the study of gravitation
E
1997

First Radio Emission for Gamma-Ray Burst

  • VLA Makes First Detection of Radio Emission from a gamma-ray burst. This first-of-its-kind discovery of radio emission from a gamma-ray burst ruled out some theoretical models on what causes these tremendously energetic events
D
2000

VLA Discovers the First Einstein Ring

  • Due to research led by Jaqueline Hewitt of MIT, the VLA discovered an Eintsein ring. More than 50 years after Einstein’s prediction, the VLA discovered the type of object he had considered unlikely ever to be found
E
2002

ALMA Construction Begins

  • AUI was named by the NSF as the North American Executive for the international Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA). Groundbreaking research begins the following year
D
2009

VLBA Revises Size, Mass, Structure of Milky Way

  • Astronomers making high-precision measurements of the Milky Way say our home Galaxy is rotating about 100,000 miles per hour faster than previously thought. The larger mass means a greater gravitational pull, increasing the likelihood of colliding with other galaxies
    E
    2014

    ALMA Proves Theory

    • ALMA’s first image of a protoplanetary disk reveals striking features in exquisite detail, providing the clearest picture to date of planet formation. Images with this level of detail were previously only seen in computer models and artist concepts. ALMA has now provided direct proof that nature and theory are very much in agreement
    D
    2015

    Search for Intelligent Life

    • The Green Bank Telescope (GBT) joins in the most powerful, comprehensive, and intensive scientific search ever for signs of intelligent life in the Universe. The international endeavor, known as Breakthrough Listen, will scan the nearest million stars in our own Galaxy and stars in 100 other galaxies for the telltale radio signature of an advanced civilization
    E
    2016

    Galaxy Clusters

    • A new record for the most distant galaxy cluster has been set using NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory and other telescopes, including the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) and the National Science Foundation’s Karl G. Jansky’s Very Large Array
    D
    2018

    ALMA Observes Oxygen

    • ALMA observations revealed the faint, telltale signature of oxygen coming from a galaxy at a record-setting distance of 13.28 billion light-years from Earth, meaning we are observing this object it as it appeared when the universe was only 500 million years old, or less than 4 percent its current age
    E
    2019

    First Images of a Black Hole

    • An international collaboration presents paradigm-shifting observations of the gargantuan black hole at the heart of distant galaxy Messier 87.

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