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84 Notes

If you’re like us, you grew up imagining deep space as unfathomably cold and empty. As it turns out, physicists trump that chill and out-vacuum that vacuum on a regular basis—especially when tackling quantum-scale trickery.
Our scientists just plunged down to the threshold of absolute zero to isolate behavior that would otherwise be obscured or destroyed by even the tiniest bit of heat. (Just to be clear, the scientists didn’t actually get that cold, just the materials.) These quantum fluctuations, now revealed in all their frigid glory, actually determine a material’s electronic, magnetic, and thermodynamic properties—you know, nearly everything useful about it. Knowing how and why it transforms at the quantum level helps us develop unprecedented materials, including new superconductors.
Get the full story right here: http://bit.ly/quantumcold.

If you’re like us, you grew up imagining deep space as unfathomably cold and empty. As it turns out, physicists trump that chill and out-vacuum that vacuum on a regular basis—especially when tackling quantum-scale trickery.

Our scientists just plunged down to the threshold of absolute zero to isolate behavior that would otherwise be obscured or destroyed by even the tiniest bit of heat. (Just to be clear, the scientists didn’t actually get that cold, just the materials.) These quantum fluctuations, now revealed in all their frigid glory, actually determine a material’s electronic, magnetic, and thermodynamic properties—you know, nearly everything useful about it. Knowing how and why it transforms at the quantum level helps us develop unprecedented materials, including new superconductors.

Get the full story right here: http://bit.ly/quantumcold.

111 Notes

That 6,000-pound chamber is just about ready to receive the world’s brightest x-rays and start exposing atomic structures in extreme detail.
You can see the curve of our half-mile National Synchrotron Light Source II in the background—check out that golden scaffolding looping along the ceiling—which houses the big ol’ electron accelerator that spits off those crucial x-rays.
We’re going to get into the nitty-gritty (and big picture awesomeness, of course) of photon science this Wednesday at our next science cafe: Illumination! New Yorkers and curious folk from nearby states can join us this Wednesday evening in Huntington, NY. Grab a beer and talk about the physics of ultra-bright light, everybody. It’s gonna be unreal. Get all the details on the PubSci website.

That 6,000-pound chamber is just about ready to receive the world’s brightest x-rays and start exposing atomic structures in extreme detail.

You can see the curve of our half-mile National Synchrotron Light Source II in the background—check out that golden scaffolding looping along the ceiling—which houses the big ol’ electron accelerator that spits off those crucial x-rays.

We’re going to get into the nitty-gritty (and big picture awesomeness, of course) of photon science this Wednesday at our next science cafe: Illumination! New Yorkers and curious folk from nearby states can join us this Wednesday evening in Huntington, NY. Grab a beer and talk about the physics of ultra-bright light, everybody. It’s gonna be unreal. Get all the details on the PubSci website.

422 Notes

What if you spent your workdays (worknights?) scouring the sky for signatures of cosmic expansion, stargazing in the most active and technologically advanced ways imaginable? That’s what our friends in the Dark Energy Survey collaboration get to do, and all from this Chilean mountaintop.
Check out the original time-lapse video and commentary at Dark Energy Detectives for more of the science and dreamy gems like this:

Our spaceship Earth is a pebble in the swirling cosmic sea around us. We watch it as if we are separate, sometimes forgetting we come from it. As we look up from within our snowglobe on a mountaintop in the Chilean Andes, it becomes easier to remember that we are a conduit between the finite and the infinite.

What if you spent your workdays (worknights?) scouring the sky for signatures of cosmic expansion, stargazing in the most active and technologically advanced ways imaginable? That’s what our friends in the Dark Energy Survey collaboration get to do, and all from this Chilean mountaintop.

Check out the original time-lapse video and commentary at Dark Energy Detectives for more of the science and dreamy gems like this:

Our spaceship Earth is a pebble in the swirling cosmic sea around us. We watch it as if we are separate, sometimes forgetting we come from it. As we look up from within our snowglobe on a mountaintop in the Chilean Andes, it becomes easier to remember that we are a conduit between the finite and the infinite.

113 Notes

This cylinder may prove crucial to the vehicles of the future, just so long as we can pinpoint its atomic structure.
That rotating GIF is a 3D reconstruction of a solid oxide fuel cell, featuring billionth-of-a-meter details about the multilayer structure. While you marvel at those little textures, just consider that the entire cylinder is just about 35 micrometers in diameter — the average human hair is more than three times as wide!
We worked with scientists at Northwestern University to reveal these unprecedented details using a technique called transmission x-ray tomography.
The nanoscale structures of this material help explain its performance and point to new and improved architectures. And get this: Once our next-generation National Synchrotron Light Source II comes online, we’ll take that image resolution down to a single nanometer and while watching energetic reactions in real time.

This cylinder may prove crucial to the vehicles of the future, just so long as we can pinpoint its atomic structure.

That rotating GIF is a 3D reconstruction of a solid oxide fuel cell, featuring billionth-of-a-meter details about the multilayer structure. While you marvel at those little textures, just consider that the entire cylinder is just about 35 micrometers in diameter — the average human hair is more than three times as wide!

We worked with scientists at Northwestern University to reveal these unprecedented details using a technique called transmission x-ray tomography.

The nanoscale structures of this material help explain its performance and point to new and improved architectures. And get this: Once our next-generation National Synchrotron Light Source II comes online, we’ll take that image resolution down to a single nanometer and while watching energetic reactions in real time.

249 Notes

Physicist Mike Lisa talks about our work probing primordial plasma on the aptly named show, “How The Universe Works.

If anyone’s getting close to understanding the cosmos, it’s Mike and his colleagues at the Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider. The RHIC team smashes particles together to recreate conditions from the dawn of time, way back before protons and neutrons even took shape. Science Channel came out to visit and learn the whole matter-melting story.

185 Notes

Not many people have the expertise it takes to build massive x-ray microscopes or particle colliders, you know? But we’re all about sharing the goods. In fact, we encourage universities and private companies to use our facilities to develop new technology.
The glowing vacuum chamber above was built at our National Synchrotron Light Source by the communications pioneers at Bell Labs to explore the structural and electronic properties of different materials.
Here’s how one IBM (ibmblr) researcher described similar collaborative work that led to new equipment and experimental techniques:

User facilities like the NSLS—and down the road NSLS-II—are unique extensions of the research tools we have at IBM. Also, because IBM does more applied work, we like to collaborate with many people from other institutions who get down to fundamental materials studies.
The return on IBM’s investment has been so valuable. This has been a great example of government-industry cooperation: we provide the beamlines and the government provides the photons!

Not many people have the expertise it takes to build massive x-ray microscopes or particle colliders, you know? But we’re all about sharing the goods. In fact, we encourage universities and private companies to use our facilities to develop new technology.

The glowing vacuum chamber above was built at our National Synchrotron Light Source by the communications pioneers at Bell Labs to explore the structural and electronic properties of different materials.

Here’s how one IBM (ibmblr) researcher described similar collaborative work that led to new equipment and experimental techniques:

User facilities like the NSLS—and down the road NSLS-II—are unique extensions of the research tools we have at IBM. Also, because IBM does more applied work, we like to collaborate with many people from other institutions who get down to fundamental materials studies.

The return on IBM’s investment has been so valuable. This has been a great example of government-industry cooperation: we provide the beamlines and the government provides the photons!

203 Notes

Eat your heart out, science fiction: This is an actual electron gun that we use on the regular.
We break out this beauty to generate bright beams of electrons at our Accelerator Test Facility and develop technology for the next generation of colliders and particle slingshots. 
And in the spirit of living in the better-than-scifi future, this device features a laser port and main power coupler.

Eat your heart out, science fiction: This is an actual electron gun that we use on the regular.

We break out this beauty to generate bright beams of electrons at our Accelerator Test Facility and develop technology for the next generation of colliders and particle slingshots. 

And in the spirit of living in the better-than-scifi future, this device features a laser port and main power coupler.

438 Notes

This metallic maze once squeezed protons into tight beams inside our Cosmotron, the most powerful particle accelerator in the world during the 1950s. Wanna know more about our first accelerator and the discoveries it made possible? We’ve got you covered.

This metallic maze once squeezed protons into tight beams inside our Cosmotron, the most powerful particle accelerator in the world during the 1950s. 

Wanna know more about our first accelerator and the discoveries it made possible? We’ve got you covered.

100 Notes

Honestly, a mutant with powerful eye-beams becoming our next president is more plausible than Brookhaven Lab’s Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider creating a dangerous black hole. The same goes for CERN, the European Lab that actually hosts the Large Hadron Collider.

But we love to see particle accelerators appearing in popular fiction! Who knows if seeing Scott Summers and crew vanquish a black hole will inspire readers to dig deep into the awesomeness of atom smashers? Spoiler alert: You may find that the facts are stranger (and more exciting!) than the fiction.

402 Notes

Physicists at the Large Hadron Collider have just detected a subatomic process even more elusive than the mass-endowing Higgs itself: a scattering of two same-charged particles called W bosons off one another. It may not sound quite as exciting as the decades-long hunt for the Higgs and its Nobel-winning discovery, but it’s a testament to the absurd precision possible at the LHC. 
So how rare is this scattering? Just imagine pulling a needle out of 100 trillion pieces of exploding hay. 
And why sift through all that data? It’s a crucial test of the Standard Model that describes the quantum world in glorious and elegant detail. Also, it may lead us into uncharted territory:
From the story:

“The Standard Model has so far survived all tests, but we know that it is incomplete because there are observations of dark matter, dark energy, and the antimatter/matter asymmetry in the universe that can’t be explained by the Standard Model,” Pleier said. So physicists are always looking for new ways to test the theory, to find where and how it might break down.

Physicists at the Large Hadron Collider have just detected a subatomic process even more elusive than the mass-endowing Higgs itself: a scattering of two same-charged particles called W bosons off one another. It may not sound quite as exciting as the decades-long hunt for the Higgs and its Nobel-winning discovery, but it’s a testament to the absurd precision possible at the LHC. 

So how rare is this scattering? Just imagine pulling a needle out of 100 trillion pieces of exploding hay. 

And why sift through all that data? It’s a crucial test of the Standard Model that describes the quantum world in glorious and elegant detail. Also, it may lead us into uncharted territory:

From the story:

“The Standard Model has so far survived all tests, but we know that it is incomplete because there are observations of dark matter, dark energy, and the antimatter/matter asymmetry in the universe that can’t be explained by the Standard Model,” Pleier said. So physicists are always looking for new ways to test the theory, to find where and how it might break down.

270 Notes

A water slide taller than Niagara Falls just opened in Kansas City. It stands 168 feet 7 inches tall, includes a 17-story drop, and it’s called Verrückt, which means “insane” in German. Appropriate, since you might have to be missing a few marbles to willingly fling yourself down it. 
It looks terrifying, but, according to Gene Van Buren, one of Brookhaven’s physicists, the angle of the drop, the friction of a raft against the slide, and the force of gravity will keep you from flying off of it. He told LiveScience: “The longer and taller a slide is, the steeper the lower half can be for it to still be safe for riders.” 
Verrückt has a 60-degree angle at its longest drop, and the water beneath a rider’s raft eases the friction against the slide, producing a feeling of weightlessness. But, said Van Buren, “If it becomes too steep too quickly, then a person or object of any sort would no longer remain on the slide, and would likely become airborne.”
The slide designer’s have pushed this record-breaking thrill ride right up to the edge, allowing for a gut-wrenching drop while still keeping riders from taking flight.  
"Free fall can be a rather scary feeling, and people can get a thrill from that,” Van Buren said. “So this is undoubtedly why slide designers push to make the safety margins as small as they can, and get people closer to the verge of becoming airborne, without ever doing so.” 

A water slide taller than Niagara Falls just opened in Kansas City. It stands 168 feet 7 inches tall, includes a 17-story drop, and it’s called Verrückt, which means “insane” in German. Appropriate, since you might have to be missing a few marbles to willingly fling yourself down it. 

It looks terrifying, but, according to Gene Van Buren, one of Brookhaven’s physicists, the angle of the drop, the friction of a raft against the slide, and the force of gravity will keep you from flying off of it. He told LiveScience: “The longer and taller a slide is, the steeper the lower half can be for it to still be safe for riders.” 

Verrückt has a 60-degree angle at its longest drop, and the water beneath a rider’s raft eases the friction against the slide, producing a feeling of weightlessness. But, said Van Buren, “If it becomes too steep too quickly, then a person or object of any sort would no longer remain on the slide, and would likely become airborne.”

The slide designer’s have pushed this record-breaking thrill ride right up to the edge, allowing for a gut-wrenching drop while still keeping riders from taking flight.  

"Free fall can be a rather scary feeling, and people can get a thrill from that,” Van Buren said. “So this is undoubtedly why slide designers push to make the safety margins as small as they can, and get people closer to the verge of becoming airborne, without ever doing so.” 

43 Notes

Summer interns at Brookhaven get to learn a lot of science, do research in working labs, and sometimes they even win the Staff vs. Students softball game. 
Wanna intern here next summer? Make plans now.

Summer interns at Brookhaven get to learn a lot of science, do research in working labs, and sometimes they even win the Staff vs. Students softball game. 

Wanna intern here next summer? Make plans now.

78 Notes

Brookhaven National Lab began with physicists looking for peaceful uses of the atom in 1947, but before that the Lab site was home to Camp Upton, an induction and training camp during World War I and a military rehabilitation center for returning soldiers during World War II. 

Before we had particle accelerators, light sources, nano centers, and biology centers, there were soliders’ barracks, officer’s quarters, and training trenches. Some of those old military buildings have been renovated and repurposed, and we still use a few of them today. 

The Long Island Museum is currently hosting a collection of war memorabilia, including standard items soldiers may have had in the barracks at Camp Upton. The makeshift bunk area is filled with pieces from Brookhaven’s collections. The Camp Upton sign is circa World War I, and there’s also a bayonet, a military helmet from the Army’s 77th Infantry Division (nicknamed the “Liberty Division”), a mess kit, and a gas mask, all lying on an Army cot. A stretcher leans against the wall, and a wooden trunk with the name of a soldier is at the foot of the cot. Uniform jackets hang on the walls. 

They are also showcasing a World War I-era bugle and the sheet music to Irving Berlin’s “Oh! How I Hate To Get Up In The Morning” which he wrote while stationed here at Camp Upton. 

126 Notes

What does science look like through the eyes of an artist? Sarah Szabo shows us with her piece, “Quark-Gluon Plasma Entering Hadronization.” Szabo is a multimedia artist who studies at the Pratt Institute with one of Brookhaven’s theoretical physicists, Ágnes Mócsy. 
Images of particle collisions deep within the Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider — where heavy ions smash together and melt into a strange form of matter called Quark-Gluon Plasma — gave rise to Szabo’s exhibition, “Glamorous Gluons.” Her particle-physics-inspired art will be displayed here at Brookhaven for the next month. 
“I think there is a lot of similarity between the cutting-edge physics research that we are doing and art,” Mócsy said. “We are people trying to understand and figure out the world; we all do that. The medium we use is different, but the bottom line is that we all try to get an insight into the same kind of questions, and we try to understand a little more our place as humans. When we make our physics accessible, great things can happen. When physics meets art, really great things can happen.” 

What does science look like through the eyes of an artist? Sarah Szabo shows us with her piece, “Quark-Gluon Plasma Entering Hadronization.” Szabo is a multimedia artist who studies at the Pratt Institute with one of Brookhaven’s theoretical physicists, Ágnes Mócsy.

Images of particle collisions deep within the Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider — where heavy ions smash together and melt into a strange form of matter called Quark-Gluon Plasma — gave rise to Szabo’s exhibition, “Glamorous Gluons.” Her particle-physics-inspired art will be displayed here at Brookhaven for the next month. 

“I think there is a lot of similarity between the cutting-edge physics research that we are doing and art,” Mócsy said. “We are people trying to understand and figure out the world; we all do that. The medium we use is different, but the bottom line is that we all try to get an insight into the same kind of questions, and we try to understand a little more our place as humans. When we make our physics accessible, great things can happen. When physics meets art, really great things can happen.” 

80 Notes

Through the eyes of a scientist, the periodic table is full of endless possibilities.
As a production manager in our Medical Isotope Research Program, Suzanne Smith helps create radioisotopes at the Brookhaven Linac Isotope Producer — adorably nicknamed BLIP — which is an off-shoot of our particle collider.

Through the eyes of a scientist, the periodic table is full of endless possibilities.

As a production manager in our Medical Isotope Research Program, Suzanne Smith helps create radioisotopes at the Brookhaven Linac Isotope Producer — adorably nicknamed BLIP — which is an off-shoot of our particle collider.