NEWPORT NEWS, VA. - The U.S. Department of Energy's Thomas Jefferson National Accelerator Facility today announced the appointment of Robert D. McKeown, a leading nuclear physicist and professor at the California Institute of Technology, to the position of deputy director for science.
"We are excited to have such a distinguished physicist and researcher as Bob agree to join our laboratory," said Jefferson Lab Director Hugh Montgomery. "His expertise and knowledge will be a tremendous resource for the laboratory, especially as we prepare for the 12 GeV research program and other future scientific ventures."
In addition to serving as deputy director, McKeown also will become a Governor's Distinguished CEBAF Professor at The College of William and Mary. He will begin his duties at the laboratory on May 1.
McKeown's research interests have included studies of weak interactions in nuclei, neutrino oscillations, parity-violating electron scattering, and the electromagnetic structure of nuclei and nucleons. He first became interested in experimental nuclear physics while an undergraduate student at Stony Brook University in Stony Brook, NY, where he received a B.S. in physics in 1974. He then continued his studies at Princeton University, where he received a Ph.D. in 1979.
After one year as a scientist at Argonne National Laboratory, McKeown took a position as assistant professor of physics at the California Institute of Technology. He became an associate professor in 1986 and a professor in 1992.
Over his career, McKeown's outstanding work has been recognized with many awards. He received a National Science Foundation Presidential Young Investigator award in 1984, was the Alexander M. Cruickshank Lecturer at the 1999 Gordon Conference on Nuclear Physics, and is a Fellow of the American Physical Society. He has served on the Nuclear Science Advisory Committee, the Physical Review C editorial board, and on advisory committees for Brookhaven National Laboratory, Fermilab and Jefferson Lab, where he served as chair of the JLab Users Group Board of Directors in 1990-91.
Most recently, he received the 2009 Tom W. Bonner Prize in Nuclear Physics from the American Physical Society. The citation for the award recognized McKeown for "his pioneering work on studying nucleon structure using parity-violating electron scattering, in particular for the first measurement of the strange quark contribution to the electromagnetic structure of the proton." The Bonner Prize is presented annually in recognition of outstanding experimental research in nuclear physics.