JLab Researcher Receives Award for Excellence in Service to Physics

  • Cynthia Keppel
  • Francis G. Slack Award

Cynthia Keppel, presented with the 2016 Francis G. Slack Award.

Cynthia Keppel, a senior scientist and the group leader for experimental halls A and C at Jefferson Lab, recently received a major award from the Southeastern Section of the American Physical Society (SESAPS) for her “excellence in service to Physics.”

Keppel was presented with the 2016 Francis G. Slack Award during the Nov. 10-12 annual meeting of the Southeastern Section of the American Physical Society, held in Charlottesville, Va.

"For her outstanding leadership in the establishment of the Hampton University Proton Therapy Institute (HUPTI), the Hampton University Center for Advanced Medical Instrumentation (CAMI), and the Hampton University Nuclear and High Energy Research Center of Excellence which has served as a model for other Historically Black Colleges and Universities, the Southeastern Section of the American Physical Society is extremely pleased to have presented its 2016 Slack Award to Dr. Cynthia E. Keppel,” said SESAPS Secretary, Mohmmad Ahmed.

From 1995 to July 2012, Keppel served as a professor at Hampton University and held a joint appointment as a staff scientist at Jefferson Lab.

“Thrilled!” was Keppel’s reaction to learning she had won the award. “This accomplishment took a strong and dedicated team, and I am proud to accept for all who helped with these efforts,” she noted. “It is always a joy for the fruits of so much labor to be successful and even recognized as such. In this case, there's the added bonus that the role of research physics - and nuclear physics in particular - in medicine was recognized.”

She described receiving an honor for “excellence in service to Physics” as humbling and emphasized that it is recognizing the results of a huge team effort.

While at HU, Keppel was involved in Jefferson Lab related nuclear physics efforts that led also to the development of medical applications. She founded the Center for Advanced Medical Instrumentation, where researchers concentrated on technology development for nuclear medicine, radiation therapy and other medical applications. Her work at CAMI resulted in several patents, over half of which have been licensed by private industry. She served as the scientific and technical director of the HU Proton Therapy Institute; and she established and co-directed the HU joint medical physics program with the Eastern Virginia Medical School, the first graduate medical physics program in Virginia and the first in the nation at a historically black college.

Keppel received a bachelor’s degree from Saint John’s College in Annapolis, Md., and a master’s degree and Ph.D. from American University in Washington, D.C. in 1995.

According to the APS web site, the Francis G. Slack Award was created to honor excellence in service to Physics in the southeastern U.S. The award is named for Francis G. Slack, a distinguished Vanderbilt University scientist who was a charter member of the Southeastern Section and who contributed significantly to its development. The award recognizes those who have worked unselfishly to bring about significant new research facilities to the region, or significantly raised the stature of physics in the region or the nation through a range of leadership, service or outreach efforts.

Jefferson Science Associates, LLC, a joint venture of the Southeastern Universities Research Association, Inc. and PAE, manages and operates the Thomas Jefferson National Accelerator Facility for the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Science. DOE’s Office the Science is the single largest supporter of basic research in the physical science in the United States, and is working to address some of the most pressing challenges of our time. For more information, visit science.energy.gov.

Related links:

Hampton University news release: Former HU Professor Recognized for Outstanding Work:

The Francis G. Slack Award: