April 1, 2009 (Vol. 29, No. 7)
Strong Points: Overview of projects
Weak Points: Could be more educational
A national laboratory of “big machines” funded by the Office of Science in the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), Brookhaven National Laboratory (BNL) is a center for cutting-edge science. On the opening page, visitors learn about the fascinating projects ongoing at the center. These mostly relate to physics/biophysics, but with numerous applications for biological scientists. Examples include the National Synchrotron Light Source (one of the most commonly used resources for x-ray crystallographers), the Center for Functional Nanomaterials (development of superconducting thin films), the NASA Space Radiation Laboratory (risks for humans to space radiation), and the Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider (a propeller-head project aimed solely at physicists). Of note is the fact that the structure of Green Fluorescent Protein (GFP), the molecule for which the most recent Nobel Prize in Chemistry was awarded, was determined at the BNL. There’s a lot to learn here and a lot of opportunities can be seen in the career section.