Physicists Hold First International
Particle Accelerator Conference
For decades, scientists from laboratories and universities around the world have worked together to build and operate particle detectors.
Until recently, accelerator physicists have done just the opposite, working predominantly with fellow scientists at the same institution to build their machines.
This week hundreds of accelerator physicists have gathered in Kyoto, Japan, to take part in the first International Particle Accelerator Conference, taking a step toward the practices of their detector-building colleagues. "Any new accelerator will surely need to be built in an international collaboration," said Katsunobu Oide, chair of the IPAC 2010 organizing committee, in his introductory remarks.
Detector builders expect to work with collaborators from outside their institutions. If a particle physicist wants to take part in an experiment, he or she must take some responsibility for the detector by helping with construction or taking shifts running it.
There is no similar expectation that the scientist help build or run the accelerator that delivers particles to the detector. The physicists, engineers, and technicians that do this historically have had little assistance from outside the host institution.
One reason for this is that operating an accelerator is more complicated than operating a detector, Oide said.
"A detector is more of a passive device," he said. "Once you build it, you use it." The major work takes place during construction.
But an accelerator requires constant, specialized attention. "It cannot be automatic if you want cutting-edge performance," he said.
Those who run particle accelerators need to work in close proximity to the accelerator so that they can investigate if something goes wrong. The philosophy has been that if locals are going to operate the accelerator, they might as well build it, too.
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SSUN Energy Summer School 2010 Extended Deadline Just a Week Away
The deadline to register for the SSUN (SLAC-Stanford University-NREL) Energy Summer School has been extended to June 7—just a week away.
The summer school, set to take place August 9–20 at Stanford University, will provide an overview of current issues and sustainable technologies in the energy cycle from generation
through collection, storage, distribution and utilization. This year's sessions will focus specifically on the challenges of modernizing electric grid infrastructure to develop power systems that are intelligent, efficient, robust and secure.
For full details and registration, see the SSUN Energy Summer
School Web site.