Brookhaven National Laboratory officials on Monday named JoAnne Hewett, a theoretical physicist known for studies of the hidden dimensions of space and time, as the next director of the Upton facility – setting her up to be the first woman in that role in the lab’s 76-year history.
Hewett, 63, will lead Long Island’s only federal laboratory this summer as the Upton facility begins construction on a $2 billion supercollider and develops a business incubator designed to match local entrepreneurs and inventors to BNL scientists.
Hewett is the associate lab director and chief research officer at the SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory, a federal lab on the campus of Stanford University in Menlo Park, California.
Brookhaven officials said Hewett is expected to arrive in July, when he will succeed director Doon Gibbs, who will retire April 17. Deputy operations director Jack Anderson will serve as interim director, according to officials of the lab.
A historic appointment
- JoAnne Hewett, 63, will be the first woman to lead Brookhaven National Laboratory
- Now he is the associate lab director at the SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory in California
- A theoretical physicist, Hewett is known for his work studying extra spatial dimensions
Hewett said in an interview with Newsday that she sees herself as a role model for young women pursuing careers in science and pointed to a program she helped create at Stanford in which girls take part in hands-on science project.
“It just goes to show that the system is equitable, and it’s very possible that anyone, anywhere, can rise to the occasion and do what they want to do and lead a laboratory,” Hewett said of his upcoming role in the work. of history.
Hewett said he was drawn to Brookhaven because of the opportunity to work in a “science-leading” facility.
Hewett will oversee a $700 million annual budget and a staff of 2,800 scientists, engineers, technicians and professionals whose research ranges from studies of the origin of the universe to practical applications for cutting-edge battery.
As a scientist, he is known for his work studying extra spatial dimensions, the theory that there may be additional layers of space and time beyond what is currently known or observed, according to Stanford officials.
Hewett said he found it “very exciting” to be in a lab that is “the only place on the planet that’s building a new collider.”
He will also be a professor in Stony Brook University’s Department of Physics and Astronomy and the university’s CN Yang Institute for Theoretical Physics.
Lab officials said they chose Hewett because of his managerial skills and experience at the Stanford lab, home of a linear particle accelerator used in subatomic particle research.
Maurie McInnis, President of Stony Brook University, which is combining the lab with an Ohio-based nonprofit, said Hewett “brings valuable experience and proven leadership skills.”
Gov. Kathy Hochul, who noted in a statement that Hewett will make history as the lab’s first female head, also called her “incredibly qualified and talented.”
Hewett, a native of St. Louis, whose first goal as someone who had never lived east of Chicago was to learn about Long Island.
His arrival at Brookhaven coincides with new projects expected to expand the lab’s role in the Island’s economy.
The US Department of Energy, which owns the lab, selected Brookhaven in 2020 to build the electron-ion collider, or EIC, a next-generation supercollider that will replace Brookhaven’s two-decade-old relativistic heavy ion collider, or RHIC .
Officials said the new collider, which is expected to take a decade to complete at a cost of $1.7 billion to $2.8 billion, will create about 4,000 construction jobs and save 1,000 jobs that may have been lost when RHIC was phased out. next three years.
US Sen. said. Chuck Schumer (DN.Y.) in a statement that he will work with Hewett “to ensure that the EIC project stays on track and that BNL has all the resources it needs to make the discoveries of the future right here on the Long island.”
Brookhaven is also developing Discovery Park, a new facility on the 5,322-acre campus that will include spaces where business and science leaders can meet and share ideas.