LBL Forms Institute for Nuclear and Particle Astrophysics (INPA)

November 19, 1993

By Lynn Yarris,

To improve the effectiveness of what has been a successful but somewhat scattered research effort, LBL's Physics Division (PD) and Nuclear Science Division (NSD) have jointly created the Institute for Nuclear and Particle Astrophysics (INPA). Heading up INPA will be NSD physicist Bob Stokstad.

INPA's introductory meeting, which was held on Monday (Nov. 15) filled the auditorium in Bldg. 70A to overflow with attendees. Any LBL scientist or engineer interested in astrophysics was encouraged to participate.

Speaking at the meeting, in addition to Stokstad, were LBL Deputy Director Pier Oddone, and the respective directors of PD and NSD, Bob Cahn and James Symons. All had nothing but praise for the accomplishments of the astrophysics research that has been led by LBL scientists. Among the efforts cited were such successes as the cosmic background radiation studies, the supernovae discoveries, the work with dark matter, cosmic rays and solar neutrinos, and the Hands On Universe Project.

"It is remarkable we could achieve so much without being organized," joked Oddone.

Past successes, not withstanding, it was agreed that individual astrophysics research groups at LBL will be in a better position to take advantage of scientific opportunities if there is a measure of coordination in funding proposals.

Said Stokstad, "Astrophysics groups will also be better off if they have a closer working relationship and are better able to share intellectual and technical resources. Our aim is to build a vital astrophysics community at LBL."

To this end, Stokstad announced the organizational structure of INPA and its relationship to organizations already in place.

"Existing divisional management structures and relationships with funding agencies will remain in place and will only be changed if there is a clear advantage to do so," said Stokstad. "We see our relationship with the Center for Particle Astrophysics (the NSF-funded organization on the UC Berkeley campus with which many LBL astrophysicists are affiliated) as cooperative and complementary. The CfPA is a resource and asset to us and we will become a resource and asset for them."

INPA's steering committee and lead researchers include NSD physicists Stuart Freedman and Eric Norman, and PD physicists Hank Crawford, Rich Muller, Carl Pennypacker, Saul Perlmutter, Bernard Sadoulet, and George Smoot.

Initial funding for INPA will come mainly from PD and NSD. A portion of the space now occupied by those divisions in the Bldg. 50 complex has been allocated for the institute's use. The headquarters and focal point for INPA will be 50-226, which will be available to them on Valentine's Day next year.