The Veksler and Baldin Laboratory of High Energy Physics owes its origin to the P.N.Lebedev Physics Institute, AS USSR, where V.I.Veksler, later academician and the first director of the Laboratory, discovered the phase stability principle in 1944. This principle underlies operation of high energy cyclic accelerators.
The physics grounds of a new accelerator – Synchrophasotron – were developed at the P.N.Lebedev Institute under the leadership of V.I.Veksler in 1949-1950, and the Electrophysical Laboratory of the USSR Academy of Sciences was founded in 1953 with the aim to carry out research in the field of high energy physics with the synchrophasotron already under construction. The Electrophysical Laboratory became part of JINR on March 26, 1956, and was called the Laboratory of High Energies (LHE). The Synchrophasotron was put into operation in April, 1957. The world largest accelerator at that time, it accelerated protons to the energy 10 GeV.
The research program at the Synchrophasotron was developed and performed under the leadership of V.I.Veksler, M.A.Markov and I.V.Chuvilo, later the second director of LHE. The experiments were aimed, first of all, at the investigation of elastic scattering at the lowest and the highest momentum transfer and of multiple particle production in hadron-nucleon interactions.
Later A.M.Baldin, the Director of the Laboratory from 1968 till 1997, launched a new research field – relativistic nuclear physics, where quark structure of nuclei reveals itself. These investigations began at LHE with the experiments on cumulative particle production in nuclear reactions.
Deliberate development of the Synchrophasotron allowed to produce accelerated deuterons for physics experiments in 1971. Then, after putting into operation a new injector – the linear accelerator to the energy 20 MeV , the unique electron-beam and laser sources of highly charged ions, and the source of polarized deuterons, the beams of light nuclei up to sulfur, and the beams of polarized nucleons and deuterons became available for physics research.
The investigations in the field of spin physics are realized using the beams of polarized deuterons of record energy and the beams of polarized protons produced by stripping of the deuteron beams, the unique beams of quasi-monochromatic polarized neutrons, and the polarized proton target.
In 1993, under the scientific leadership of Academician A.M.Baldin, direct management of L.G.Makarov and later on A.D.Kovalenko, the Nuclotron – the first superconducting accelerator of nuclei – was put into operation and implementation of the physics research program began at the LHE. Original solutions in the field of accelerator technique and technology of superconducting magnets were found during the creation of Nuclotron. They were recognized worldwide and further developed in a number of the largest accelerator centers.
From 1997 to 2007, Prof. A.Malakhov was Director of the LHE. During this period, a system for slow extraction of accelerated beams and an internal target station were created at the Nuclotron accelerator complex under his leadership. Acceleration of nuclei up to Krypton was carried out and beams of polarized deuterons were obtained. Methodical and physical sessions using particle and nuclei beams took place regularly. Unique results both in the field of basic and applied research were received.
In January, 2002 at the 91 Scientific Council Meeting the Laboratory was named Veksler and Baldin Laboratory of High Energies.
In 2007 Professor V.D.Kekelidze was elected for the position of LHE Director. Since then he has been leading work on one of the most urgent problems – preparation for research on the study of hot and dense strongly interacting QCD matter. This program has been proposed on the initiative of JINR Director, Academician A.N.Sissakian. In order to implement the program, it is planned to create a Nuclotron-based collider of heavy ions and polarized particles and the NICA/MPD experimental set-up.
At present the Laboratory of High Energy Physics represents an accelerator center for a wide range of research in the field of elementary particle physics and nuclear physics. The Laboratory carries out a broad international collaboration with the physics research centers in Russia, JINR member states, CERN, USA, Germany, Japan, India, Egypt and other countries.