The diversity of particle accelerators


17 Responses to “The diversity of particle accelerators”

  1. Jesseham says:

    Depends on the particle you’re accelerating, I suppose.

  2. awjt says:

    Maggie, I have a serious question.  I’ve been wondering lately why don’t we build a huge magnetic funnel to channel already-existing energetic particles into a target?  The cosmic shower issue aside, why wouldn’t we want to capitalize on particles with far higher energies than we can create?  With a giant funnel thingie somewhere in orbit or on the moon, we could collect cosmic rays and take pictures of the stuff they shatter on a target.  Yes, our beams are denser, producing more collisions, but we are stuck in 8-bit in a 1024-bit universe.  Anyways, your thoughts?

    • Artor says:

      I suspect that once it becomes economical to put big construction in space, we’ll do something like that. It could have a dedicated nuke plant, plus solar panels miles across to power the fields. We just need to get the Beanstalk built first.

      • awjt says:

        I wasn’t thinking it needed to be THAT big… you know, just _kinda_ big.  Like the size of a couple Hubbles.

    •  Actually, a device such as you describe is already attached to the International Space Station, AMS-02. You can read about it here:

    • ImmutableMichael says:

      Collecting the waifs and strays of the cosmic ray zoo is worth doing, but sometimes it’s important to know exactly what it is you’re accelerating and smashing.  And sometimes it’s just about the smashing stuff.

      Mind you, a big part of me sees equipment like this and stops caring about function – look at the form!  Just look at it!

  3. seanmchugh says:

    No need for the funnel thingie, but good idea!  See:

  4. Quinx says:

    Looking forward to reading more . . . 

  5. Bonobo says:

    I have to admit that when I picture a particle accelerator, I think of a bunch of disparate equipment covered in tinfoil and duct tape as this has been my experience with them.

  6. Valentin Burov says:

    some from CERN’s museum:

    and this one’s an art piece made from real accelerator pieces! 

  7. This aesthetic combined with Art Nouveau will form the follow-on to steampunk which I dub “Amadou Vapeur.”

  8. snowmentality says:

    Actually, you have seen a particle accelerator before — if you’ve seen a CRT monitor or television. CRT stands for cathode ray tube — and a “cathode ray” is just an old-fashioned way of saying “beam of electrons.” CRTs accelerate electrons towards a phosphor target, steering them using magnetic deflection. Same basic idea as any particle accelerator — just smaller scale and lower energy.

    I’m almost sad that I got a new TV, because now I can’t say I have a particle accelerator in my living room.

  9. xtalman says:

    Didn’t think LBNL did much on site particle physics, though the old parts are cool.  One thing I have noticed over the years is that while new instrumentation is much better in what it does most has lost its “wow” factor in its visual looks.  Older instrumentation really are works of art vs. the plan utilitarian look of things today.

  10. Uh, okay. I’m impressed.

  11. I’d be bragging about my son-in-law if I could understand some of this.

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