Some people eat cake, I visit SLAC
Posted by episode81 on February 20, 2010
Yesterday I went on a tour of SLAC – the Stanford Linear Accelerator Center, or the SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory as it is now named. Some people eat birthday cake and have a party. I tour SLAC. I dare to be different 😀
Anywho, I digress …
I did the SLAC tour 11 or 12 years ago. There wasn’t much to see and the LINAC (LINear ACcelerator) was closed for maintenance and/or remodeling. I have always wanted to go back, but they stopped doing tours. After 10+ years, they restarted. Woot! This was one of the first, possibly even THE first tour, since they restarted. It was fun! Book yourself on a tour now – there is a waiting list and life is short.
I took a few pics on my Blackberry.
Then we got to the fun stuff! Although the LINAC is no longer used to smash atoms, one third of the length is used for the LCLS (Linac Coherent Light Source) that generates high-energy x-ray laser pulses. The LCLS is used to create 3D movies and images of biological molecules. Accelerated electrons are forced into a zig-zig route by strong magnets, causing ultra-fast X-ray pulses to be emitted. The electrons are redirected and dumped, leaving the X-ray pulse.
The LINAC is housed in the second longest building in the world. It is so long that it is impossible to see the end. That’s long.
Only the second longest? The longest is terminal 3 at Beijing airport. Who knew?
PS There is a chicken in there somewhere. Have you found it?