HOWTO move an immensely delicate 50'-wide circular electromagnet

Fermilab just got a new Awesome Magnet, a 50'-wide jobbie that can't be tilted by more than a few degrees without suffering irreparable harm. It's in New York, though, and Fermilab is outside of Chicago, and this presents a logistical problem with a complicated solution:

The Muon g-2 ring, an electromagnet made of steel and aluminum, begins its 3,200-mile trek from New York in early June. From there, it will sail by barge down the East Coast, around Florida's tip into the Gulf of Mexico, then up the Mississippi River until it arrives in Illinois.

Once on land, the electromagnet will be driven at night in a specially designed truck at no more than 10 mph until it reaches Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory.

The high-tech transport is all in service of a plan to use Fermilab's powerful beam to send muons, a rare kind of particle that lasts just 2.2 millionths of a second, into the circular electromagnet, according to experiment spokesman Lee Roberts, who works at Fermilab. Once in the ring, muons "wobble," or tilt like a top.

Huge magnet set for delicate voyage to Fermilab [Alexa Aguilar/Chicago Tribune]

(via /.)



    1. They’d have to route the thing through two of the biggest cities in the country to go that route. Unless they took the barge all the way up past Nova Scotia and reduced it to a single city. 

      The route they chose results in around 30 miles of road travel total, which maybe they decided was a good idea to minimize.

  1. Thanks for the blast from the past!  I was involved in the manufacture of a number of components for that magnet!  Got a chance to see them in action once up at BNL!

  2. Someone on this experiment is a physics postdoc at Northwestern (where I am a grad student). Just last week she gave a talk (which I missed):

    “Currently, there is a 3-sigma discrepancy between the measurement and the theoretical prediction of anomalous magnetic moment, (g-2), of the muon. This first part of this talk will cover the current status of the theoretical predication and experimental measurement.  The second half will cover the upgraded experiment that will be located at Fermi National Laboratory. This will include details on how one moves a 50ft diameter ring 3200 miles. Trucks? Barges? Avoiding hurricanes and ice? Yes. Yes. And yes.”

    1. Yeah, that’s what I thought as well. 
      Just built a giant stick, attached it to a helicopter and off you go!

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