This profile appeared originally in the September 2011 issue of the CUAA Newsletter
September 2011 — Joseph Tuozzolo (ME’76) is Chief Mechanical Engineer for the Collider Accelerator Department (C-AD) at Brookhaven National Laboratory.
Q: Describe your current work at BNL.
A: The C-AD is responsible for the operation, upgrade and maintenance of multiple particle accelerator systems that make up the Relavistic Heavy Ion Collider. RHIC is a particle collider that can accelerate protons to gold ions (Uranium soon) to nearly the speed of light and then collide them in order to determine their make-up. RHIC is basically a factory and the engineering group maintains and improves that factory to meet the Physicists needs.
Q: How did you end up at BNL?
A: I saw an ad in the New York Times in 1981 and it sounded very interesting. I started as a project engineer on an upgrade to improve beam injection and kept working on a variety of projects and equipment systems taking added responsibilities. Throughout my years here, I worked on many different pieces of mechanical equipment including accelerator magnets, high voltage power supplies, radio-frequency cavities for beam acceleration, ultra-high vacuum beam lines and the cryogenic refrigerator for the RHIC super conducting magnets. The major accelerator systems here range in age from one-year-old to 50 years old. Re-engineering some systems is like restoring and upgrading vintage cars with new high performance engines and electronics. We also built accelerator systems for the new Spallation Neutron Source in Tennessee and we are working on a design for a new type of low energy particle accelerator used to destroy cancer tumors in the body.
Q:How did your time at Cooper Union impact your work?
A: I feel fortunate that I attended Cooper Union for the basics of engineering and science that I learned there. There are many more tools available for engineering analysis today, but I still pull out my old books when I am checking my own work or someone else’s if the answers don’t seem quite right. My education was top shelf and I am proud when I see how Cooper Union has maintained its top ranking in a very competitive field.
Ariel view of BNL
Q: Any suggestions for alumni and students who would like to work in field like yours?
A: There are multiple Department of Energy laboratories in the United States. Each laboratory is an independent contractor and their websites have a job opportunity listings. There are many proposals for new accelerator projects and experiments, but most of them are being affected by funding concerns due to the national political strife. Worldwide this is still a busy/competitive field. There are new research facilities like RHIC being built in Europe, China and India.