At the outset, SURA’s original thirteen member universities were focused on a single mission – to capture the nuclear physics research lab planned by the US Department of Energy. The SURA team secured pledges for new university faculty positions as part of a strategy to establish a strong nuclear physics research base in the Southeast. The SURA proposal emerged above its competitors, and with the development of a new technology called superconducting radiofrequency, the world’s first large-scale super-conducting electron accelerator was constructed. The Continuous Electron Beam Accelerator Facility (CEBAF), located at the Thomas Jefferson National Accelerator Facility (Jefferson Lab or JLab) in Newport News, Virginia, is a complex assembly of high-tech hardware and electronics stretching through an underground racetrack-shaped tunnel almost a mile in circumference.

Jefferson Lab enjoys strong support from the Commonwealth of Virginia and the City of Newport News, and works together with the community to establish a strong relationship through public outreach and successful education programs.

“The Founding of CEBAF, 1979 to 1987”Catherine Westfall