History of the John D. Fox Accelerator Laboratory

Picture of John D. Fox

In March 2007, FSU's superconducting linear accelerator laboratory was named for John D. Fox, a longtime FSU faculty member who was instrumental in its development. Gov. LeRoy Collins established FSU's program in nuclear physics in 1958, and Fox joined the faculty shortly after, in 1960. He went on to play a key role in building up the accelerator laboratory into a position of worldwide renown. In particular, his collaboration with FSU Professor Donald Robson on isobaric analog states put the accelerator lab on the world map of nuclear physics.

The FSU Accelerator Laboratory began operation in 1960 following the installation of an EN Tandem Van de Graaf accelerator. It was the second of its type in the United States. The first useful acceleration of negatively-charged helium ions was achieved at FSU in 1961, and isobaric analogue resonances were identified at the facility in proton-induced reactions in 1963.

The laboratory entered its second development stage in 1970 with the installation of an Super-FN Tandem Van de Graaff accelerator. At that time, the research program turned to an emphasis on heavy-ion beams. As a third major stage of evolution, a superconducting linear post-accelerator was funded by the National Science Foundation in the mid-1980’s, with the first experiment on the completed facility run in 1987.

Since 2006, the emphasis of the experimental program at the laboratory is on research with radioactive ion beams, which are produced in-flight at the RESOLUT facility.