Today at Berkeley Lab

James Symons Appointed Associate Lab Director for General Sciences

James Symons has been appointed by Director Alivisatos to be the Lab’s Associate Laboratory Director (ALD) for General Sciences, effective immediately. Symons will continue to serve as the Director of the Nuclear Science Division. As ALD for General Sciences, Symons will champion the Lab’s highly-accomplished research divisions in accelerator and fusion research, engineering, nuclear science, and physics.

Symons will work with other ALDs to coordinate across organizational lines at the Laboratory; in spearheading new, large-scale scientific initiatives; to lead strategic planning exercises; and, to serve as a senior advisor to the Lab Director and Deputy Director.

James Symons received his D.Phil from Oxford University, where he studied nuclear structure, and began his career at Berkeley Lab in 1977 as a Postdoctoral Fellow. Since that time, he has held scientific research and management roles, and also currently serves as the Director of the Nuclear Science Division.

His research interests are in experimental nuclear physics, including nuclear structure and relativistic heavy ion collisions. He was one of the pioneers of the use of heavy ion beams accelerated by the Bevalac to study properties of isotopes far from stability. These techniques underpin modern facilities such as the Facility for Rare Isotope Beams.

As Division Director, he oversees the 88-inch Cyclotron, and the Division’s research programs in various branches of nuclear physics. He is a member of the STAR (Solenoid Tracker at RHIC) experiment at the Brookhaven National Laboratory’s Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider (RHIC), designed to study particle production at temperatures and densities similar to that found during the early universe.

Symons is a fellow of the American Physical Society, and has served on numerous national and international panels, including the Department of Energy/National Science Foundation Nuclear Science Advisory Committee (NSAC), which he chaired from 2000 – 2002.