The Future of @FermilabToday

On Thursday, May 9, 2013, Fermilab invited elected officials and leaders from local communities to hear Director Pier Oddone lay out his vision of the laboratory's future. The presentation was held in Wilson Hall, and included both short-term (NOvA, Muon g-2) and long-term (LBNE, Project X) experiments, as well as an overall look at the direction of the laboratory's impact on Chicagoland.

Watch the Presentation:

More about the Muon g-2 Project:

A particle storage ring spanning 50 feet (15 meters) in diameter is set to go on a long cruise this summer, from New York to Illinois, where it will get a new life capturing ultra-rare particles in a magnetic field.

The huge electromagnet, made of steel and aluminum, is the centerpiece of a machine built at Long Island's Brookhaven National Laboratory in the 1990s. Now it's needed at Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory for a study on muons, exotic subatomic particles that exist for just 2.2 millionths of a second.


particle storage ring
The Muon g-2 storage ring, in its current location at Brookhaven National Laboratory in New York.

While most parts of the machine can be broken down and shipped halfway across the country in parts, the huge but delicate ring needs to go in one piece. One wrong tilt or twist could irreparably damage the complex wiring inside.

The slow and circuitous journey will take place by barge, with the electromagnet hauled down the East Coast, around the tip of Florida and up the Mississippi River to Illinois. Once again our precious waterways are a transportation asset to our state. A specially built truck will be used for the land legs on both ends of the 3,200-mile (5,150 kilometers) trip. The ring will travel the roads only at night and at speeds of just 10 mph (16 km/h) when it goes from lab to port and then port to lab.

Brookhaven officials said in a statement that they expect the trip to start in early June and end in late July.

“It costs about 10 times less to move the magnet from Brookhaven to Illinois than it would to build a new one,” Lee Roberts of Boston University said in a statement. “So that's what we're going to do. It's an enormous effort from all sides, but it will be worth it.”

Roberts is a spokesperson for the Muon g-2 experiment that's set to set to start in 2016 and will involve 26 institutions around the world. In experiments at Brookhaven in the 1990s, scientists found some evidence that muons were reacting differently than scientists expected them to when placed in a magnetic field. They couldn't definitively prove their findings at the time, but that could change with muons created in Fermilab's accelerators and stored in the Brookhaven-built ring.

“Fermilab can generate a much more intense and pure beam of muons, so the Muon g-2 experiment should be able to close that margin of error,” Chris Polly, project manager for Fermilab, said in a statement. “If we can do that, this experiment could indicate that there is exciting science awaiting beyond what we have observed.”

This is another reason we need to have and end to sequestration and an increase in our nations R&D, so we can continue to get cool science toys like this in Illinois. Click Here to read my article from yesterday talking about the need to increase NIH funding and R&D in the US.

How does particle physics improve our lives?

Particle physics improves technology in all industries. From shrink wrap, to diapers, to MRI's. Check out this Symmetry Magazine Article for more information.

This is a conversation, not an editorial. Did I forget something, get it wrong or do you agree? Please Comment, Like, Re-Tweet and Share


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