Duke Physicist to Again Lead Premier National Lab

Haiyan Gao headshot

Henry Newson Professor of Physics Haiyan Gao has been named the next Associate Laboratory Director for Nuclear and Particle Physics at Brookhaven National Laboratory, according to a March 30 announcement from the research center.

Brookhaven is home to one of the world’s largest existing particle accelerators, the Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider, and also hosts the brightest x-ray synchrotron in the world. Research conducted at Brookhaven has had impacts in fields ranging from physics and materials to biology and medicine.

“A leadership position at a national lab truly represents new challenges for me,” Gao said. “The timing of this position is excellent as the Electron-Ion Collider (EIC) will be built at Brookhaven in the next 10 years or so, and will represent the long-term future of quantum chromodynamics (QCD) physics in the U.S. and the world. The science of the EIC is very close to my research interests. It will be exciting to be part of this new endeavor and help make the EIC a great success.”

She follows another Duke physicist – James B. Duke Professor of Physics Berndt Mueller – in taking on this position at Brookhaven.

Gao has a long history in nuclear physics starting as a PhD student at Caltech, and including positions as assistant physicist at Argonne National Laboratory, and as assistant and associate professor of physics at MIT before joining the Duke faculty. She also previously served as the chair of Physics at Duke, and was the founding Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs at Duke Kunshan University.

Gao will begin her new role on June 1, retaining her appointment at Duke throughout her time with Brookhaven.