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Geoff Greene Wins Prestigious Bonner Prize from APS

October 7, 2020

Image Credit: UT

Geoff Greene’s lifetime is inextricably linked to that of the neutron. His tireless pursuit of this scientific mystery—finding out how long a neutron lives and what that reveals about the weak force, the Big Bang, and other fundamentals of science—has earned him the Tom W. Bonner Prize in Nuclear Physics from the American Physical Society. Greene was recognized “for foundational work establishing the field of fundamental neutron physics in the US, for developing experimental techniques for in-beam measurements of the neutron lifetime and other experiments, and for realizing a facility for the next generation of fundamental neutron physics measurements.” He will accept the award at a ceremony in April.

Greene is the second UT faculty member in the past decade to win the award. Former Professor Witek Nazarewicz claimed the honor in 2012.

Professor and Department Head Hanno Weitering weighed in on Greene’s accomplishments: “Geoff not only has an excellent track record in building complex scientific apparatus; he also has a very deep knowledge and profound understanding of the biggest physics questions out there,” Weitering said. “This combination of knowledge and skills is a rare treat that has allowed him to set the nation’s research agenda in the field of fundamental neutron physics. We are thrilled with this extraordinary recognition, and are especially proud that now two of our nuclear physics faculty have received the most prestigious nuclear physics prize in the US.”

Greene has been following neutrons and building beamlines to study them for decades, from the National Institute of Standards and Technology to Los Alamos National Laboratory to the Spallation Neutron Source at Oak Ridge National Laboratory, where he holds a joint appointment. The US Department of Energy recently published a feature on this research (“The Mystery of the Neutron Lifetime“) and he was invited, along with colleague Peter Geltenbort, to write about his work for Scientific American in “The Neutron Enigma.”