Barbara Jacak

Barbara Jacak (Polish pronunciation: [ˈjat͡sak]) is a nuclear physicist who uses heavy ion collisions for fundamental studies of hot, dense nuclear matter. She is Director of the Nuclear Science Division, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, and a professor of Physics at UC Berkeley.[1] Before going to Berkeley, she was a member of the Department of Physics and Astronomy at Stony Brook University, where she held the rank of Distinguished Professor. She is a leading member of the collaboration that built and operates the PHENIX detector, one of the large detectors currently operating at the Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider at Brookhaven National Laboratory, and was involved in the discovery of the quark gluon plasma and its strongly coupled, liquid-like behavior. Throughout her career she has served on many advisory committees and boards including the National Research Council Committee on Nuclear Physics, and the Physical Review C Editorial Board.[2]

Barbara Jacak
Barbara Jacak introducing a speaker at Berkeley, January 7, 2016
ResidenceUnited States
NationalityUnited States
Alma materMichigan State University
National Superconducting Cyclotron Laboratory
Known forRelativistic heavy ion collisions, PHENIX spokesperson
AwardsJ.R. Oppenheimer Fellow
Fellow of the American Physics Society
National Academy of Sciences
Tom W. Bonner Prize in Nuclear Physics (2019)
Scientific career
FieldsPhysics, Nuclear Physics
InstitutionsLos Alamos National Laboratory
Stony Brook University
Doctoral advisorGary Westfall

Physics career

Jacak started her career at Michigan State University, where she completed her Ph.D. in Chemical Physics in 1984 working at the National Superconducting Cyclotron Laboratory (NSCL).[3] She began working at Los Alamos National Laboratory in 1984 as a J.R. Oppenheimer Fellow. She became a laboratory staff member in 1987, continuing until 1996. During her time at Los Alamos, she also taught as an Adjunct Associate Professor at the University of New Mexico, from 1994–1996.[2] In 1997 she joined Stony Brook University to lead the Relativistic Heavy Ion Group, affiliated with the PHENIX experiment.[2] In 2008, she was appointed to the rank of Distinguished Professor.[3][4]

Since January, 2015, Jacak has been the Director of the Nuclear Science Division at Lawrence Berkeley Laboratories. She also holds joint appointments as Faculty Senior Scientist at Berkeley Lab and as Professor of Physics at UC Berkeley.[5]

PHENIX Collaboration

Jacak has been a member of the PHENIX Collaboration since the detector was first proposed.[6] She served on the Detector Council from 1992-1994 and the Executive Council from 1994-2006.[2] In December 2006 she was elected as spokesperson of PHENIX.[4] She served as spokesperson for two consecutive terms, stepping down at the end of 2012. Under her leadership as spokesperson, PHENIX published over 60 papers in peer-reviewed journals and graduated over 90 Ph.D.'s from institutions around the world.[7][8] She oversaw the successful installation of three major detector upgrades, as well as several smaller upgrades.[9]

ALICE Collaboration

Prof. Jacak has been a member of the ALICE Collaboration since March 2015. She is the team leader of the UC Berkeley group.[10]


Selected publications


  1. "ARCS Foundation>>ARCS Alumni Hall of Fame". ARCS. Retrieved January 16, 2019.
  2. "APS bio" (PDF). Retrieved January 16, 2019.
  3. "ACAP bio".
  4. "SUNY Appoints Two Stony Brook University Faculty to Distinguished Professor Ranks" (PDF). Stony Brook University. March 20, 2008. Retrieved January 16, 2019.
  5. "Barbara Jacak: Professor of Physics". UC Berkeley Physics Department. Retrieved January 16, 2019.
  6. "Science Watch Interview". Retrieved January 16, 2019.
  7. "INSPIRE-HEP list". Retrieved January 16, 2019.
  8. "PHENIX Theses table" (PDF).
  9. "PHENIX Beam Use Proposals". Retrieved January 16, 2019.
  10. Adriana Telesca; Panagiotis Charitos (April 24, 2015). "News from the ALICE Collaboration Board". Retrieved January 16, 2019.
  11. "APS Fellow Archive 1990-present". APS. Retrieved January 16, 2019.
  12. "SBU press release". 2009.
  13. "APS to Announce Barbara Jacak as Winner of Bonner Prize". Berkley Lab. September 13, 2018. Retrieved January 16, 2019.
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