Lebanon Valley College physicist Dr. Daniel Pitonyak has been included in a $1.95 million, five-year grant that will assemble scientists from 16 colleges, universities, and national laboratories for focused research into gluons.

The grant is headed towards the SURGE (SatURated GluE) Topical Theory Collaboration, which hopes to develop models for understanding the saturated state of gluons.

The saturated state of gluons is only believed to occur at very high energy density. In that state, matter can change into a different state that’s more similar to a fluid. This research could help to shed light on some of the mysteries of the early universe and the behavior of matter under extreme conditions.

Explanation of image from Brookhaven Lab: “Gluons are always popping in and out of existence like blinking fireflies. But when nuclei or protons are accelerated to high energies, the gluons inside appear to multiply. That’s because time operates in weird ways near the speed of light. The “blinking” appears to slow down, which makes the gluons linger longer. Energetic particle collisions can help physicists study this gluon-dominated state and, guided by new approaches to nuclear theory, search for signs of gluon saturation.” (Provided graphic)

“I am excited to be a member of this collaboration,” Pitonyak, an LVC assistant professor, said in a press release about the grant.

Pitonyak had previously been awarded a $164,862 grant from the National Science Foundation for his work in physics undergraduate research.

Read More: LVC physics professor lands NSF grant

“I will conduct computational work to calculate how much quarks and gluons at very high energy contribute to the proton’s spin, a fundamental quantum mechanical ‘rotation’ carried by all particles,” he said.

“This grant will provide additional support and collaborative opportunities with top institutions in the country for my research and the LVC students who work with me.”

Saturated state gluons are predicted to be observable in high-energy particle colliders such as the Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider (RHIC) at Brookhaven Lab, the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) at Europe’s CERN laboratory, and the future Electron-Ion Collider (EIC) at Brookhaven.

The grant will be led by the U.S. Department of Energy’s Brookhaven National Laboratory.

Other partnering institutions include Thomas Jefferson National Accelerator Facility/Old Dominion University; McGill University; City University of New York, Baruch College; the University of California, Los Angeles; Stony Brook University; Ohio State University; University of Connecticut; Los Alamos National Laboratory; University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign; Southern Methodist University; New Mexico State University; North Carolina State University; Penn State University; University of California Berkeley.

Questions about this story? Suggestions for a future LebTown article? Reach our newsroom using this contact form and we’ll do our best to get back to you.

Do you want to see more from LebTown?

Support local news. Cancel anytime.

Already a member? Login here

Free news isn’t cheap. If you value the journalism LebTown provides to the community, then help us make it sustainable by becoming a champion of local news. You can unlock additional coverage for the community by supporting our work with a one-time contribution, or joining as a monthly or annual member. You can cancel anytime.


LebTown membership required to comment.

Already a member? Login here

Leave a comment

Kindly keep your comments brief and respectful. We will remove comments that do not abide by these simple rules.