COLLEGE STATION - Dr. Sherry J. Yennello, Regents Professor of Chemistry and holder of the Nuclear Science Chair at Texas A&M University, has been appointed as director of the Cyclotron Institute, which serves as the core of Texas A&M's nuclear science program and as a major technical and educational resource for Texas and the nation.
Yennello, an internationally renowned nuclear chemist and expert in heavy-ion reactions as well as longtime associate dean for faculty affairs in the College of Science, recently replaced Robert E. Tribble as head of the Cyclotron Institute. Tribble, a distinguished professor of physics and astronomy at Texas A&M, stepped down after more than 11 years as director to accept a primary appointment as the deputy director for science and technology at another U.S. Department of Energy-funded facility, Brookhaven National Laboratory.
"We are indeed fortunate to have a person of Dr. Yennello's knowledge and experience taking over as director," said Dr. H. Joseph Newton, dean of the College of Science. "She is widely known nationally in this area and has broad local, national and international experience in leading important organizations."
Dedicated in 1967, the Texas A&M Cyclotron Institute conducts nuclear physics- and chemistry-based research and radiation testing as part of an internationally recognized interdisciplinary program featuring faculty members from both the Department of Physics and Astronomy and the Department of Chemistry. The facility is one of five designated Centers of Excellence by the DOE, which helped to finance its construction and pays a substantial amount of the operating costs in conjunction with the State of Texas. The institute is home to a K500 superconducting cyclotron, one of only four such university-based accelerators in the world.
In addition to educating students in accelerator-based science and technology, the institute brings in more than $4 million annually in external research grants. Testing by companies and agencies (including Boeing, Lockheed-Martin, NASA, the Jet Propulsion Laboratory and the U.S. Navy Laboratories) that rent time on the cyclotron for their own research projects brings in an additional $2 million annually, generating a total of nearly $6.5 million in overall external funding each year.
Yennello joined the Texas A&M faculty in 1993 after serving as a postdoctoral fellow at Michigan State University (1991-92) and earning her Ph.D. from Indiana University in 1990. Her research on the nuclear equation-of-state impacts such fundamental questions as, "What is the origin of the elements?" and "How are neutron-rich and heavy nuclei synthesized in the core of a star during stellar evolution?" In addition, her pioneering example as an instructor, research scientist, administrator, and mentor to faculty and students -- particularly women and minorities -- is equally respected at Texas A&M and in national and international professional circles.