Prize Recipient

Recipient Picture

Barbara V. Jacak
Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, University of California, Berkeley


"For her leadership in the discovery and characterization of the quark-gluon plasma, in particular for her contributions to the PHENIX experiment and its explorations of jets as probes."


Barbara V. Jacak holds a B.S. in chemistry from the University of California, Berkeley and a Ph.D. in chemical physics from Michigan State University. She was an Oppenheimer Fellow at Los Alamos National Laboratory from 1984 to 1987, transitioning to staff member in 1987. In 1997, she joined the faculty at Stony Brook University as a professor of physics, becoming Distinguished Professor of Physics in 2008. In 2015, she was appointed director of nuclear science at Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory and a professor of physics at UC, Berkeley. Her research focuses on the production and characterization of quark gluon plasma in heavy ion collisions, initially at the HELIOS and NA44 experiments at CERN’s Super Proton Synchroton. She then joined the PHENIX Collaboration at RHIC. From 2007 to 2012, she served as spokesperson for the PHENIX Collaboration. Upon arriving in Berkeley, she joined the ALICE Collaboration at the LHC, where she and her group use photons and jets to study the interaction of partons with hot, dense QCD matter. From 2014 to 2018, she was a member of the National Academies’ Board on Physics and Astronomy, chairing it in 2016 and 2017. Barbara was a member of Nuclear Science Advisory Committee from 1995 through 1996, and the Long Range Plan working groups in 1995, 2001, 2007. She chaired Brookhaven National Laboratory’s RHIC/AGS Program Advisory Committee in 2005 and 2006. She has served on numerous advisory committees for international conferences, and for national and international funding agencies and laboratories. Barbara is a fellow of the American Physical Society and of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and a member of the National Academy of Sciences and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

Selection Committee:

2019 Selection Committee Members: Mark Riley (Chair), Johanna Stachel (Vice Chair), Vincenzo Cirigliano, Haiyan Gao, Bradley M. Sherrill,