October 8, 2002

Secretary of Energy Spencer Abraham, Office of Science Director Raymond Orbach Salute Raymond Davis, Jr.,
Recipient of 2002 Nobel Prize

WASHINGTON, DC - Secretary of Energy Spencer Abraham lauded Raymond Davis, Jr., a retired chemist at the U.S. Department of Energy's Brookhaven Laboratory, for receiving the 2002 Nobel Prize in Physics. The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences made the announcement earlier this morning.

Dr. Davis, who worked in the Brookhaven Laboratory's chemistry department from 1948 until his retirement in 1984, was awarded the Nobel Prize for detecting solar neutrinos, ghostlike particles produced in the nuclear reactions that power the sun. DOE and its predecessor agencies have supported more than 70 Nobel Prize winners.

Dr. Davis shares the prize with Masatoshi Koshiba of Japan and Riccardo Giacconi of the United States.

"I take special pleasure in congratulating Dr. Davis on this richly deserved honor," Secretary of Energy Spencer Abraham said. "Dr. Davis did the pivotal work for which he has been awarded the 2002 Nobel Prize in Physics at the Energy Department's Brookhaven National Laboratory."

"Indeed, the timing of Dr. Davis' honor could hardly be more poignant given the Department of Energy is celebrating its 25th anniversary, a full quarter century in dedicated service to its missions of energy security, national security, environmental restoration and science."

"This Nobel Prize is testimony not only to Dr. Davis' genius," Abraham concluded, "but also to the high quality of the scientific work that the Department of Energy has underwritten throughout its history."

The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences awarded Dr. Davis the 2002 Nobel Prize in Physics "for pioneering contributions to astrophysics, in particular the detection of cosmic neutrinos."

Neutrinos offer a unique view of the sun's inner workings because they are produced in its heart by the same process that causes it to shine – nuclear fusion. Davis' experiments detected these neutrinos, confirming that the sun is powered by nuclear fusion. The same experiments, however, showed that only one third of the solar neutrinos predicted by theory were detected, opening up a new area of physics not predicted by the Standard Model.

"Dr. Davis conducted a brilliant experiment with profound insights that led to further investigations of great importance," said Dr. Raymond L. Orbach, Director of the Office of Science, which manages Brookhaven and 9 other national laboratories for the Energy Department.

"The Department of Energy and its Office of Science are very proud of our association with Dr. Davis," Dr. Orbach said. "We extend our heartfelt congratulations to Dr. Davis, the latest in a remarkable constellation of Nobel laureates whose work has been supported by the Energy Department."

For additional information about Dr. Raymond Davis, Jr., his discovery of solar neutrinos and the 2002 Nobel Prize in Physics, please see the Nobel Prize Web site and the Energy Department's Brookhaven National Laboratory Web site.

Media Contact:
Jill Schroeder Vieth, 202/586-4940

- DOE -
Back to Previous Page

Number: PR-02-215

Last Modified: 10/08/2002