Friday, 18 June 2010
first visit to MUSIC
Well I finally got to see what I'm working on today: MUSIC. Housed in the RCNP (Research Centre for Nuclear Physics) at Osaka University it is a FFAG (Fixed Field Alternating Gradient) that will be used to accelerate muons (a heavier version of the electron) these will then be studied and used to probe matter as well as generally make people go 'oooooh' (and then hopefully give us money to make us go away).
Like any good student while I was there I maintained complete decorum, for about 2 minutes. The whole facility was intensely cool, very much like something out of Half-life. As a building it is not made for humans, it's made for machines, humans just occasionally have to move around it: you're constantly ducking under piping stepping over cables, there are rooms full of boxes each controlling enough power to keep the average home going for month, the corridors are half shared with massive (utterly massive) bundles of high voltage cabling and most of the doors have fail safes on (and are generally about 50cm thick iron).
One of the strangest things about the whole site is that it's old, the first cyclotron was finished in 1973, so the whole place is well established and worryingly organic in feel at times this feeling strongest when comparing the equipment: on one hand is MUSIC, built less than a year ago consisting of finely polished metal shaped to incredible precision; on the other hand are the sections of proton beam pipe, lengths of well used metal held aloft by metal segments, controlled with magnets that are chipped and bruised.
Anyway, rather than ramble further I will leave you this link to my picasa album, it has several pictures of the experiment hall and control room - hopefully the captions will give some idea of what's going on feel free to leave questions in the comments though.
PS feel free to look at the other albums with photos from my trip so far