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In this issue:
The Do-it-yourself Cyclotron
SLAC Run and Walk November 18

SLAC Today

Thursday - October 21, 2010

The Do-it-yourself Cyclotron

Amateur cyclotron builders are dedicated, tenacious, and obsessed. Another thing they have in common: The experience changes their lives.

If the only thing amateur car builders needed was a ride to work, they wouldn't ever build cars. While it's certainly nice to take the finished product around the block to show the neighbors, there's something more than transportation motivating a hot-rod builder.

That's the analogy Mark Yuly uses for a project he's working on with his undergraduate physics students at Houghton College: building a particle accelerator.

Yuly belongs to a rare breed of people who have a deep fascination—you could even call it an obsession—with cyclotrons. For many of those obsessed, the only way to sate their hunger for these machines is to build their own. There are no guidebooks or instruction manuals, and buying the raw materials off the shelf would cost around $125,000. On average, amateur cyclotrons take two to three years to build. And while it would drive some people crazy to build their own car and never drive it, in the 80-year history of amateur cyclotron building, only occasionally have the finished products been used for experiments or in education.

 "That's not why we build them," Yuli said.

"We" refers to amateur cyclotron builders. And last April, for the first time in history, they held a conference. 

Read more in Symmetry magazine...

SLAC Run and Walk November 18

Runners take off from the starting line for 2009 SLAC Run & Walk. (Photo by Lauren Knoche.)

Get your gear ready! The 39th annual SLAC Run and Walk is scheduled to take place Thursday, November 18. Event registration and T-shirt sales will start at 11:45 a.m. on the north side of the Klystron Gallery at Sector 30. The run will start at 12:05 sharp and the walkers will follow the runners.

See the 39th Annual SLAC Run & Walk page for more details.


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