Area of Physics:

High Energy Physics

Research Interests

Professor Busza’s prime research focus is the study of matter at extremes of temperature and energy density through the study of pp, pA and AA collisions at high energies, and the understanding of the mechanism of multiparticle production in such collisions.

Shortly after the big bang, our universe consisted of a sort of a homogeneous soup of point like particles. The hadronic part of this soup was a dense collection of quarks and gluons. Matter was in a phase called a Quark-Gluon Plasma (QGP). This soup expanded and cooled. At about ten microseconds, when the visible universe was about the size of the solar system, it went through a transition (probably a cross-over phase transition). The quarks and gluons coalesced into globules of hadronic matter. For the first time hadrons (e. g. protons, neutrons, pions etc.) are formed. By accelerating nuclei to ultra relativistic velocities and colliding them, we are trying to recreate and study in the laboratory, on a small scale, this transition and the state of matter produced immediately after the transition. This is the focus of Busza’s research.

Busza originated and/or led the E178, E451, E565 and E665 experimental programs at Fermilab. These are various studies of particle production in hadron-nucleus and muon-nucleus collisions. He also originated and led the PHOBOS experimental program. PHOBOS was one of four detectors built to search for and study the QGP in collisions of nuclei accelerated by the Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider RHIC at Brookhaven National Laboratory.

Busza is best known for his pioneering studies of multiparticle production in hadron-nucleus collisions and the discovery of participant scaling (sometimes known as nu bar scaling or wounded nucleon scaling).

He is also credited for the discovery (concurrently with others) of the phenomenon known as extended longitudinal scaling.

Biographical Sketch

Professor Wit Busza received the B.Sc. (1960) and Ph.D. (1964) from University College London and joined MIT in 1969, becoming a full Professor in 1979. In 1990, he was awarded the Buechner Prize for Outstanding Contributions to the Education Program in the Department of Physics, in 1993 the School of Science Prize for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching, and in 2012 the Buechner Faculty Award for Undergraduate advising. In 1995, Professor Busza was appointed a Margaret MacVicar Faculty Fellow and in 2015 he was honored with a Special Issue of Annals of Physics. From 1991-2011 he was the leader of the Relativistic Heavy Ion Group at MIT. He is a member of the Polish Academy of Arts and Sciences and a fellow of the American Physical Society.

Selected Publications

  • Charged-Particle Multiplicity in Pi-Nucleus Interactions at 100 and 175 GeV/c) (discovery of participant scaling); W.Busza et al. (E178 collaboration) Phys. Rev. Lett. 34 (13): 836-839 (1975).
  • Review of Experimental Data on Hadron-Nucleus Collisions at High-Energies; Acta Phys.Polon. B 8:333 (1977).
  • An Experimental Study of Multiparticle Production in Hadron-Nucleus Interactions at High-Energy (observation of extended longitudinal scaling in hadron-nucleus collisions); J. E. Elias et al. (E178 Collaboration) Phys. Rev. D22 (1980) 13.
  • Experimental Study of the A-dependence of Inclusive Hadron Fragmentation; D. Barton et al. (E451 Collaboration) Phys. Rev. D27 (1983) 2580.
  • Nuclear Stopping Power; (with Alfred S. Goldhaber) Phys. Lett. 139B (1984) 235.
  • Saturation of Shadowing at Very Low X (BJ); M.R. Adams et al. (E665 Collaboration) Phys. Rev. Lett. 68 (1992) 3266.
  • Review of Data Related to our Understanding of the Attenuation of Photons (Real and Virtual) and Hadrons as They Pass Through Nuclear Matter; Nucl.Phys.A 544: 49-64 (1992).
  • Review of Speculative 'Disaster Scenarios' at RHIC; W.Busza, R.L Jaffe, J Sandweiss, F Wilczek  Rev.Mod.Phys. 72:1125-1140 (2000)
  • Charged Particle Multiplicity near Mid-rapidity in Central Au+Au Collisions at Ös = 56 and 130 GeV; B.Back, et al. (PHOBOS Collaboration) Phys.Rev.Lett. 85 (2000) 3100.
  • The PHOBOS Perspective on Discoveries at RHIC (discovery, with other RHIC experiments, that the medium produced in AA collisions is strongly interacting); B.Back, et al. (PHOBOS Collaboration) Nucl. Phys. A. 757, (2005) 28.
  • Extended Longitudinal Scaling: Direct evidence of saturation, Nucl. Phys. A854 (2011) 57.

Last updated on June 9, 2015 1:14 PM