Washington, D.C. — Five Virginia universities unanimously approved the nomination of Anthony W. Thomas, Chief Scientist at the U.S. Department of Energy's Thomas Jefferson National Accelerator Facility (Jefferson Lab) in Newport News, Va., to a distinguished professorship at The College of William and Mary. Thomas is a theoretical nuclear physicist and the Chief Scientist, and he also heads the Lab's Theory Group.
"The association of Jefferson Lab's key science leaders with Virginia's research universities is important to the nuclear physics community as we strive to maintain our leadership position in the basic sciences during these times of fiscal constraint," said P. Geoffrey Feiss, Provost of The College of William and Mary in Williamsburg, Virginia. Thomas will join the college's physics department as a distinguished professor.
Thomas expressed, "Virginia universities are particularly important to the present and future of Jefferson Lab. I'm looking forward to joining The College of William and Mary's physics department and working with the people there, especially the graduate students. I regard graduate students as the driving force for future research at Jefferson Lab, and this appointment gives me the opportunity to work with these bright students and involve them in research at the Lab." Thomas is responsible for fully developing the connections between the theoretical, experimental, and advanced computational and simulation activities of the Lab's scientific program.
Thomas joined Jefferson Lab in the spring of 2004 with more than thirty years of professional experience. Thomas' most recent position was at the University of Adelaide (Australia), where he was Elder Professor of Physics, Director of the Special Research Centre for the Subatomic Structure of Matter, and Director of the Australia National Institute for Theoretical Physics. Thomas has also served as President of the Australian Institute of Physics and is a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Science, the American Physical Society, and the (UK) Institute of Physics. He has received numerous awards, including the Harrie Massey Medal (IoP), the Thomas Ranken Lyle Medal (Australian Academy of Science), a von Humboldt Research Prize (Alexander von Humboldt Research Foundation) and the Walter Boas Medal (AIP).
The Governor's Distinguished CEBAF Professorship/Governor's CEBAF Scientist (GDCP/GCS) honors were established in the early 1980s by the General Assembly and Governor of the Commonwealth of Virginia to enable the Southeastern Universities Research Association (SURA) to attract distinguished scientific talent and leadership for the Lab. SURA constructed and now manages and operates the international user research facility for the U.S. Department of Energy. SURA President and CEO, Jerry Draayer, noted, "Without the support that Virginia has provided to SURA for this program, we would be constrained in our recruitment and retention efforts for some key scientific positions at the Lab. These positions are unique, and few individuals are qualified to lead Jefferson Lab's forefront science program. We need to be able to bring the best of these scientists to Jefferson Lab, and the association with Virginia's top research institutions is mutually beneficial."
The Commonwealth of Virginia has provided approximately $1 million annually to SURA to support these honors and applied research projects benefiting Virginia university and industry partners. The five public Virginia universities that review nominations include: University of Virginia, Virginia Tech, Virginia Commonwealth, Old Dominion, and The College of William and Mary. Thomas joins Lab Director Christoph Leemann and the Lab.s Associate Director for Physics, Lawrence Cardman, as current GDCP honorees. Two current Lab staff members, Peter Kneisel and Claus Rode, hold Governor's CEBAF Scientist awards.