Laurels for CESR and CLEO
Accelerator accomplishments
• A CESR predecessor was the first synchrotron to employ “strong focusing,” a technique that uses magnets as lenses to keep a beam compressed.
• Invented “pretzel orbits” that allow multiple bunches of electrons and positrons to counter-circulate, boosting the collision rate.
• Developed superconducting RF cavities to accelerate particles. Cornell's designs are used at a variety of synchrotrons.
Particle physics firsts
• Discovered and measured basic properties of the B meson. (Researchers at DESY in Hamburg also claimed priority.)
• Observed rare decays of bottom quarks into up quarks, decays that are essential to the Standard Model's explanation of matter-antimatter asymmetry, or CP violation.
• Observed the first “penguin decay,” in which a very massive particle pops into and out of existence. Penguin decays of B mesons might reveal new particles (Science, 22 August 2003, p. 1026).