SEED Grant Winners 2009

Thomas Hemmick, Department of Physics & Astronomy, SBU
Vladimir Litvinenko, Head of Accelerator Physics Group, Collider-Accelerator Department, BNL, CASE Co-director
Ilan Ben-Zvi, Associate Chair for Superconducting Accelerator R&D, Collider-Accelerator Department, Brookhaven National Laboratory, CASE Deputy Director for Research
Axel Drees, Department of Physics & Astronomy, Stony Brook University
Abhay Deshpande, Department of Physics & Astronomy, Stony Brook University

"CASE: The Center for Accelerator Science and Education"


Accelerator Physics (or more generally Accelerator Science) is a burgeoning field with ever-increasing applications ranging from basic physics research to medical treatments for cancer. The need for competent, trained accelerator scientists will continue to increase as the diverse applications multiply. Few institutions offer first rate accelerator science education opportunities. A principal reason for this lack of opportunity is that the necessary facilities for the advanced study of accelerator science are principally found in the nation’s national laboratories rather than its universities.

Stony Brook University and Brookhaven National Laboratory have enjoyed and benefitted from a close collaboration in accelerator science for many years. Traditionally, BNL scientists have held adjunct faculty positions at Stony Brook and mentored Ph.D. students in Accelerator Physics. The success of this relationship is exemplified by students such as Rama Calaga who won the President’s Distinguished Dissertation Award in 2006. Despite such success, the opportunities for receiving an advanced education in accelerator science at Stony Brook are not well known to our most important clientele, prospective graduate students. Some students receiving advanced degrees in accelerator science were not even aware of the opportunity until after they arrived at the university.

The Center for Accelerator Science and Education (CASE) formalizes and expands the relationship between SBU and BNL scientists in accelerator science to foster its future growth. This joint venture will provide graduate and undergraduate education in accelerator science; educational outreach via access to a research accelerator; and high quality research in accelerator science. To ensure the present success and future growth, CASE must address three pressing and immediate needs. First, CASE must attract bright undergraduate students, interested in accelerator science, to apply to Stony Brook for their graduate education. Second, CASE must establish a presence and name recognition within the accelerator physics community. Third, CASE must establish a presence and name recognition within the appropriate federal funding agencies. This proposal requests seed funds to address all three of these issues.


Jeffrey Levinton, Ecology & Evolution, SBU
Creighton Wirick, BNL, co-director
Resit Akçakaya, Department of Ecology and Evolution
Stephen B. Baines, Department of Ecology and Evolution
Brian A. Colle, School of Marine and Atmospheric Sciences
Liliana Davalos, Department of Ecology and Evolution
Catherine Graham, Department of Ecology and Evolution
Jessica Gurevitch, Department of Ecology and Evolution
Jaymie Meliker, Graduate Program of Public Health
Alexander Orlov, Department of Materials Science and Engineering
Dianna Padilla, Department of Ecology and Evolution
John J. Wiens, Department of Ecology and Evolution
Patricia Wright, Department of Anthropology
Minghua Zhang, School of Marine and Atmospheric Sciences
Creighton Wirick, BNL Department of Environmental Sciences
Yangang Liu, BNL Department of Environmental Sciences
Alistair Rogers, BNL Department of Environmental Sciences
Andrew Vogelmann, BNL Department of Environmental Sciences

"Center for Regional Impacts of Climate Change (CIRCC)"


We propose the formation of a joint BNL-SBU center devoted to the forecasting the impacts of regional climate change on biological systems. Collaboration between regional climate change modelers and biologists is critical to addressing the many challenges that will be faced by society as the earth warms. Research areas include: Modeling and empirical investigation of the risk of spread of infectious diseases in humans and other species; extinction of threatened species; effect of invasive species on ecosystems; and the impact of changing weather systems on areas and ecosystems that are foci of economic and conservation risk. BNL and SBU have a powerful combination of faculty and research scientists, involved in modeling of climate change on the regional scale and investigating biological impacts. Already, BNL scientists are using a substantial proportion of the New York Blue computer on climate simulation work.

An improved understanding of climate dynamics at the regional scale is needed to anticipate the future threats to ecosystems and the services they provide to society, and to provide local decision makers with the information needed to respond prudently to those threats. While climate change models can effectively characterize climate dynamics at the global scale, the likely changes in climate at the regional (e.g., northeastern US) or subregional (e.g., Long Island) scales are poorly understood. Unfortunately, such scales correspond to the typical extent of ecosystem types and species ranges, as well as the distance over which organisms and materials move between ecosystems. Moreover, climate-related changes of ecosystem services are disproportionately felt by regional economies. Finally, the institutions that must respond to the effects of climate change on natural ecosystem are often legislative bodies and regulatory agencies with regional jurisdiction. To predict regional impacts of climate change on ecosystems, climate models must be adapted to explain climate shifts across elevation belts and along coasts, changes in the frequency and intensity of regional storm events, and the probability of occurrence of sudden climate swings, which facilitate the invasion of species into novel environments. Our definition of "regional" is two-fold and designed to take advantage of existing strengths at Stony Brook and BNL, as well of funding opportunies. First, we seek to emphasize the link between regional climate change and biological responses in our immediate terrestrial and oceanic environs of the northeastern United States. But we also construe regional as a series of potential targets throughout other parts of the world. Stony Brook University, through its outposts in Madagascar, Kenya and the Neotropics, and through various agreements with other universities such as the University of Queensland, has a broad series of opportunities to connect regional climate modeling to regions where active research projects are underway.

We propose to merge the expertise of a group of climate modelers at Brookhaven who are now at work attempting to establish regional models of climate change in the larger context of global warming in the past century, along with the expertise of similar modelers at Stony Brook University, with a group of ecologically focused modelers and empirical investigators who combine demographic modeling, spatial modeling, and even evolutionary modeling to predict the distribution and abundance of species as affected by climate shifts. Such connections cannot be made without translating global climate trends to regional scales, which is a great analytical and computational challenge. In addition, the cooperation between these different researchers and institutions will lead to better predictions and empirical studies on biological responses to climate change, affecting ecosystem interactions, species ranges, the spread of disease, and the viability of populations of endangered species.

Our specific proposal is to accomplish the following: (1) To establish a joint BNL-SBU directorate and faculty for the center; (2) To heighten the visibility of the center with a kickoff symposium with lectures from local experts and invited distinguished guests; and, most importantly, (3) to foster ties with public 2 funding agencies and private foundations, by means of proposals and letters of intent, all designed to follow appropriate RFPs and to even create opportunities by visiting agencies and foundations.


John Parise, Department of Geosciences, SBU
Chi-Chang Kao, Brookhaven National Laboratory
John B. Parise, Brookhaven National Laboratory, JPSI co-Director

"CASE: The Center for Accelerator Science and Education"


We propose to “jump-start” the Joint Photon Sciences Institute (JPSI) by initiating several innovative programs in conjunction with efforts at BNL to leverage the research capabilities, staff expertise, infrastructure and large user base of the NSLS. These programs are designed to

  • Explore the best use of the unique source properties of NSLS-II as well as other advanced light and electron sources for materials and chemical sciences
  • Maximize the synergy among universities, industries, BNL research departments and NSLS/NSLS-II project
  • Increase key New York state institutional, especially Stony Brook, and industrial usage of synchrotron radiation
  • Attract world-class researchers

In addition, each proposed program is formulated to target one or more future operating funding sources for JPSI. Expected Results during the one year of funding:

  • Establish a business plan for JPSI
    • Refine the scientific, education and industrial programs for JPSI
    • Identify funding sources for JPSI programs
    • Provide input to JPSI building design
  • Increase and strengthen industrial, university and BNL collaborations
    • Generate an enhanced industrial user access policy for major national user facilities
    • Improve the overlap between basic science programs and applied programs within BNL
    • Establish a mechanism to take innovative ideas to executable proposals
  • Facilitate the translation of goals in BNL strategic plan to the utilization of NSLS-II and other advanced light and electron sources
    • Organize funding proposals to construct new instruments for NSLS-II
    • Identify new research opportunities


Goudong Sun, Department of Tecnology & Society, SBU
John H. Marburger, III, Advisor to the proposed Center, Stony Brook University
William Horak, Chairman, Energy Sciences & Technology Department, BNL, Co-PI
Vatsal Bhatt, Energy Sciences & Technology Department, Brookhaven National Lab
Robert P. Crease, Department of Philosophy, Stony Brook University
David L. Ferguson, Department of Technology & Society, Stony Brook University
Charles Fortmann, Department of Materials Science & Engineering, Stony Brook University
Gary Halada, Department of Materials Science & Engineering, Stony Brook University
William Holt, Department of Geosciences, Stony Brook University
Nay Htun, Stony Brook University Southampton
Jon Longtin, Department of Mechanical Engineering, Stony Brook University
Devinder Mahajan, Department of Materials Science & Engineering, Stony Brook University; Energy Sciences & Technology Department, Brookhaven National Lab
Peter Salins, Department of Political Science, Stony Brook University
Martin Schoonen, Department of Geosciences, Stony Brook University

"SBU-BNL Joint Center for Energy Technology Assessment"


We apply for this seed grant to support our preparatory work and proposal development for a SBU-BNL Joint Center for Energy Technology Assessment (CETA). This Center will be in support of the missions of Stony Brook University and Brookhaven National Lab, in particular, in producing excellent science and advanced technology; educating new generations of scientists and engineers; disseminating technical knowledge; and raising scientific awareness in the general public, in the following areas:

  1. To conduct research on energy technology assessment as a knowledge-integration tool, and to develop and apply new methods to improve its utility;
  2. To perform energy technology assessment with the aim of informing decision-making on energy technology choice, R&D priority-setting, and facilitating consensus building among stakeholders;
  3. To educate undergraduate and graduate students, and to train practitioners with the aim of building capabilities in energy technology assessment for the benefits of sustainable development.

This Center is built around technology- and policy-experts from SBU, BNL, and other organizations involved in the Advanced Energy Research and Technology Center (AERTC). This Center will foster meaningful collaboration between scientists/engineers and social scientists, and provide a structured platform for them to conduct research that can influence policy making. This Center uses resources and capabilities of SBU and BNL in energy-technology research and development, and policy analysis. It will put us in a very strong position to attract, and to compete for, research grants from governmental agencies, international organizations, foundation.


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