June Matthews Appointed Director of MIT Laboratory for Nuclear Science


Professor June L.Matthews of the Department of Physics has been named Director of the Laboratory for Nuclear Science (LNS) at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. LNS is the largest university laboratory of its kind in the nation, the research home of two Nobel Prize winners, and is the center of activities in experimental and theoretical nuclear and particle physics at MIT. Interim Dean of Science Robert J. Silbey announced the appointment of Professor Matthews; she succeeds Professor Robert P. Redwine, who completed a term of eight years as LNS Director and is now Dean for Undergraduate Education.

Silbey said "I am extremely pleased that Professor Matthews has accepted the Directorship of LNS. June is a distinguished physicist who has been an integral member of the team at LNS. She will be an equally distinguished Director. I look forward to working with her in the future."

June Matthews received her B.A.( magna cum laude) from Carleton College, Northfield, Minnesota in 1960 and her Ph.D. in physics from MIT in 1967. After postdoctoral fellowships at the University of Glasgow, Scotland, and Rutgers University, New Jersey, she joined the MIT faculty in 1973. Combining her interests in research and teaching, she has held visiting professorships at Carleton College, Yale University, and Oberlin College, Oberlin, Ohio. At MIT she has been active in both undergraduate and graduate teaching and served as Academic Officer in the Physics Department between 1994 and 1998. She has been a member of numerous MIT Committees, including the Presidential Task Force on Student Life and Learning, and has chaired the Committee on Curricula and the Committee on Undergraduate Admissions and Financial Aid.

In her research, Professor Matthews has used beams of gamma-rays, pi-mesons, and neutrons to probe the strong interactions among the constituents of the atomic nucleus. In one of the first experiments performed at the MIT-Bates Linear Accelerator Center in Middleton, MA, she discovered unexpected high-momentum effects, hinting at the presence of previously unknown correlations among the particles in the nucleus. In experiments using the Los Alamos Meson Physics Facility at the Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico, she studied a rare process in which a pi-meson exchanges two units of electric charge with a nucleus, which shed light on the importance of multiple strong interactions. She found evidence for the transitory existence of an exotic particle known as the Delta Isobar in the ground states of nuclei.

Professor Matthews' current research at the Los Alamos Neutron Science Center involves the reaction in which neutrons scatter from protons and gamma-rays and pi-mesons are emitted, and also the process in which the neutron and proton stick together to form the simplest nucleus, the deuteron. This latter experiment is expected to provide important data to test models of how nuclei are formed following the Big Bang. In addition, Professor Matthews is one of the principals in the Bates Large Acceptance Spectrometer Toroid (BLAST) project currently under construction at MIT-Bates. This facility, which is unique in the world, will allow the comprehensive study of interactions of spin-polarized electrons with polarized gas targets to unprecedented precision.

Professor Matthews has supervised a large number of UROP, Senior Thesis, S.M., and Ph.D. students in these research projects. Several of her former graduate students are now members of college and university faculties and hold scientific staff positions at national laboratories.

Professor Matthews is a member of Phi Beta Kappa and Sigma Xi. She is a member of the American Association of Physics Teachers and is a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and of the American Physical Society. She currently serves as Chair of the New England Section of the American Physical Society. She is a resident of Lincoln, Massachusetts.


Topics: Physics, Faculty

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