VUBeam - The Online Master's and Ph.D. Program in Beam Physics

 College of Natural Science, MSU 10/12/2001

Martin Berz

Department of Physics and Astronomy and

Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI 48824

Accelerator Physics and Why Courses in it

Accelerator/Beam Physics: A subfield of Physics dealing with design and understanding of particle accelerators, some of which are the largest scientific instruments. Size of device depends roughly on energy that can be achieved.

High Energy Machines (Particle Physics): CERN (Europe, Birthplace of WWW), Fermilab (US), DESY (Germany), KEK (Japan)

Medium Energy Machines (Nuclear Physics): NSCL (MSU), IUCF (IU), ATLAS (ANL), ...

Almost ideal scenario for distance education!

The History of PHY861

The introductory course in the MSU Physics-Astronomy Beam Physics curriculum, PHY861, was up to be given for the third time in Spring 1997. A few people at Fermilab and Argonne expressed interest in participating remotely, and so in the Fall of 1996, we transformed the course into a format suitable for distance education.

We sent e-mail to a distribution list, made a website, and put notes in a few newsletters. Since then our life has not been peaceful again; In a very short time, we had about 100 participants registered! They were located at about 30 remote sites in eight countries.

Obtained rush funding from DOE, secured the help of Jens Hoefkens and Bela Erdelyi, upgraded our technologies, and embarked on the largest beam physics course ever.

VUBeam, the MSU Virtual University Beam Physics Initiative

Upon the success of PHY861, the entire Beam Physics Graduate  Curriculum at MSU was made available online, and mechanisms to obtaine MSc and Ph.D. degrees remotely were implemented, resulting in VUBeam. Currently, VUBeam has
Site Name Country Participants
Argonne National Lab. USA


Beijing University China 6
Brookhaven National Lab. USA 9
Calcutta University India 3
CEBAF (T. Jefferson National Lab.) USA 11
Dubna Laboratory Russia 2
Fermi National Accelerator Lab. USA 10

Kansas State University

KVI Netherlands 4
Lawrence Berkeley Nat. Lab. USA 7
Lawrence Livermore Nat. Lab. USA 2
Michigan State University USA 18
Notre Dame University USA 2
Stanford Linear Accelerator Center USA 2
St. Petersburg State University Russia 6
TRIUMF Canada 3
University of Texas, Austin USA 2
Unaffiliated   37

Distance Education Technologies Utilized in VUBeam


After so much Virtual Education, next you may want to embark on a Virtual Lunch!