Joseph Cerny

Joseph Cerny

We are sorry to share the sad news that our beloved colleague Joseph Cerny has passed away at the age of 87.

Professor of the Graduate School
Professor Emeritus

office: LBL 88
lab: LBL 88
phone: (510) 486-7852
fax: (510) 486-7983

Research Interests

Nuclear Chemistry — Studies of nuclei very far from the stable isotopes may reveal highly unusual nuclear radioactivities. Studies are underway exploiting a new capability with radioactive nuclear beams.

Research in the Cerny group centers on the study of the properties and decay schemes of exotic proton-rich nuclei and on the search for new modes of radioactive decay, such as two-proton radioactivity. Professor Cerny's experimental program is concentrated at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory's 88-Inch Cyclotron and utilizes its many high-energy beams of ions ranging from protons to uranium. Current research projects of the group involve high resolution determinations of decay schemes of beta-delayed proton and two-proton emitters; accurate mass measurements of nuclei far from stability; and spectroscopic studies involving the detection of unbound nuclei such as 2He as reaction products. The group also uses the Berkeley Gas-Filled Separator to search for new proton- or alpha-particle emitting isotopes in the region of the Chart of Nuclides near lead. Recently the Cerny Group has lead the effort to develop a radioactive ion-beam capability at the 88" Cyclotron via the Berkeley Experiments with Accelerated Radioactive Species (BEARS) initiative. Short-lived radioactive isotopes are produced at the LBNL Biological Isotope Facility, transported as a gas through a 300 meter-long capillary to the 88" Cyclotron, injected into the main ion source and accelerated as an ion beam. Upon completion of the BEARS activity-handling system in August 1999, this coupled-cyclotron facility produced 2x108 11C ions/sec on target for nuclear experiments. BEARS also provides beams of 7l second 14O and 122 second 15O. Studies in nuclear astrophysics and on nuclei far from stability have been conducted with this new capability.


  • Professor Emeritus, born 1936
  • B.S. Chemical Engineering, University of Mississippi (1957)
  • Fulbright Scholar, University of Manchester, England (1957-58)
  • Ph.D. Nuclear Chemistry, University of California, Berkeley (1961)
  • Guggenheim Fellow, Oxford University (1969-70)
  • Ernest Orlando Lawrence Award of the U.S. Atomic Energy Commission (1974)
  • ACS Award in Nuclear Chemistry (1984)
  • Alexander von Humbolt Senior Scientist Award, 1985
  • University of Mississippi Alumni Hall of Fame, 1988
  • Honorary Ph. D. in Physics, University of Jyvaskyla, Finland (1990)
  • Fellow APS, AAAS, Member ACS. Chairman, Chemistry Department (1975-79)
  • Associate Director, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and Head, Nuclear Science Division (1979-84)
  • Provost (1986-94) then Vice Chancellor (1994-2000) for Research and Dean of the Graduate Division (1985-2000)
  • Chair, the Subcommittee on Education of the Nuclear Science Advisory Committee, 2003-2004 
  • “Education in Nuclear Science:  A Status Report and Recommendations for the Beginning of the 21st Century” Nov. 2004
  • The Berkeley Citation, University of California, Berkeley, 2013
  • Berkeley Division of the Academic Senate's Faculty Service Award, 2014