Computer rendering of a collision of two beams of gold ions in the STAR detector at the Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider at Brookhaven National Laboratory. The beams travel in opposite directions at nearly the speed of light before colliding. (Credit: Brookhaven National Laboratory.)


Ting Lin, a postdoctoral researcher in the Texas A&M University Cyclotron Institute, has been selected as a co-recipient of Brookhaven National Laboratory's 2018 RHIC and AGS Thesis Award.

The prestigious prize, which includes a $3,000 monetary award and a certificate, is given annually in recognition of the most outstanding doctoral thesis related to research conducted at the Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider (RHIC) and Alternating Gradient Synchrotron (AGS) complex, in addition to the NASA Space Radiation Lab (NSRL), Tandem, the Brookhaven Linac Isotope Producer (BLIP) and the Accelerator Test Facility (ATF). The award was established by Stony Brook University and Battelle Memorial Institute and initially presented in 2003.

Lin received his doctorate in physics from Indiana University in December 2017, where he completed his dissertation, titled "Longitudinal Double-Spin Asymmetries for Di-jet Production at Intermediate Pseudorapidity in Polarized Proton Proton Collisions at √s = 200 GeV," under the supervision of Dr. Scott Wissink. A paper describing his results was submitted to Physical Review D last month and currently is under review. In February, Lin began his postdoctoral appointment at Texas A&M, where he works with Texas A&M physicist and Cyclotron Institute member Dr. Carl Gagliardi.

Gagliardi notes that when researchers look inside the atoms which make up all matter, including humans, they see a small nucleus consisting of protons and neutrons surrounded by a cloud of electrons. While the electrons are fundamental particles, both the protons and neutrons are made of smaller particles called quarks that are "glued together" by other particles, known as gluons. Currently, scientists only have a limited idea how the quarks and gluons are put together to make protons and neutrons and give them their basic properties.

"Every proton has a spin of ½ hbar, for example," Gagliardi said. "For many years, it was assumed the spin comes from the quarks, which individually also have spins of ½ hbar. However, detailed measurements have shown that only about one-third of the proton spin comes from quark spins."

Like Gagliardi, Lin uses Brookhaven's STAR (Solenoidal Tracker At RHIC) detector to study proton-proton collisions in his quest to determine how much of the proton spin comes from gluons. During the past several years, RHIC has provided the first experimental evidence that gluons make a significant contribution, possibly even larger than the quarks. However, because the kinematic coverage of those measurements has been limited, the uncertainties remain quite large. Lin's measurements significantly extend the kinematic coverage in comparison to previous studies and provide new evidence that the gluon contribution to the proton spin is important. Gagliardi predicts Lin's work will continue to substantially reduce the existing uncertainties.

"I'm particularly thrilled that Ting has won this award, because my former graduate student Zilong Chang, who earned his Ph.D. at Texas A&M in December 2016 and is now a postdoc at Brookhaven National Lab, won one of the two awards last year," said Gagliardi, who is a member of the STAR Collaboration at Brookhaven. "So in standard Aggie fashion, that means winning this award is now an Aggie tradition."

For additional information about the RHIC & AGS Thesis Award or on past recipients and participants, go to https://www.bnl.gov/userscenter/thesis/thesis-award-home.php.

Learn more about the Cyclotron Institute or high energy nuclear physics research at Texas A&M.

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About Brookhaven: Brookhaven National Laboratory is a multipurpose research institution funded by the U.S. Department of Energy's Office of Science. Located on Long Island, New York, Brookhaven operates large-scale facilities for studies in physics, chemistry, biology, medicine, applied science and advanced technology. The Laboratory's almost 3,000 scientists, engineers and support staff are joined each year by more than 5,000 visiting researchers from around the world. To learn more, visit www.bnl.gov/.

About Research at Texas A&M University: As one of the world's leading research institutions, Texas A&M is at the forefront in making significant contributions to scholarship and discovery, including that of science and technology. Research conducted at Texas A&M represented annual expenditures of more than $905.4 million in fiscal year 2017. Texas A&M ranked in the top 20 of the National Science Foundation's Higher Education Research and Development survey (2016), based on expenditures of more than $892.7 million in fiscal year 2016. Texas A&M's research creates new knowledge that provides basic, fundamental and applied contributions resulting, in many cases, in economic benefits to the state, nation and world. To learn more, visit http://research.tamu.edu/.


Contact: Shana K. Hutchins, (979) 862-1237 or shutchins@science.tamu.edu or Dr. Carl Gagliardi, (979) 845-1411 or c-gagliardi@tamu.edu

Hutchins Shana

  • Ting Lin

  • The Solenoidal Tracker at RHIC (STAR) is a detector that specializes in tracking the thousands of particles produced by each ion collision at RHIC. Weighing 1,200 tons and as large as a house, STAR is used to search for signatures of the form of matter that RHIC was designed to create: the quark-gluon plasma. It is also used to investigate the behavior of matter at high energy densities by making measurements over a large area. (Credit: Brookhaven National Laboratory.)

  • Hundreds of physicists from around the world use RHIC to study what the universe may have looked like in the first few moments after its creation. RHIC drives two intersecting beams of gold ions head-on, in a subatomic collision. What physicists learn from these collisions may help us understand more about why the physical world works the way it does, from the smallest subatomic particles, to the largest stars. (Credit: Brookhaven National Laboratory.)

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