Researcher Magnets

Facility for Rare Isotope Beams (FRIB)


Michigan State University’s Facility for Rare Isotope Beams (FRIB), will bring researchers from around the globe to East Lansing while spurring more than $1 billion in economic activity in the region. The facility is expected to be the birthplace of many major scientific breakthroughs, supplying intense beams of rare isotopes to better enable scientists to make discoveries about their properties. FRIB is slated to open in 2022.

Thomas Russo

Thomas Russo

Thomas Russo is the electrical engineering department manager at FRIB. Russo moved to East Lansing after 28 years at Brookhaven National Laboratory in New York and a stint at Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Tennessee.


“Moving to Michigan to work on FRIB was a big decision – I sold my house of 20 plus years,” Russo said. “I could have gone back to work at Brookhaven but I was excited to come to Michigan and create this machine.”

In his role at FRIB, Russo leads several teams of engineers, including those in power supply, diagnostics and radio frequency. Together, they supply the power that’s needed to accelerate measure and bend particles, turning research into a reality. He’s joined by a variety of experts in the field.


“People from all over the world are flocking to work on FRIB. Colleagues of mine from all over the country are relocating to Michigan to work here.”

The implications of the work that will be done at the site are immense. FRIB, which is funded through the U.S. Department of Energy, will enable researchers to gain deeper understanding into key scientific questions including the origins of stars and the universe.


“It will be the most powerful beam of its type on the planet. We’re building something that’s never been done before.”