Every year we go to the UBC Alumni weekend.
UBC is Chris’ alma mater, as it was that of her father and her grandmother. It’s a big campus, serving something like 30,000 students.
It houses Triumf, one of the world’s largest cyclotrons. It’s old now, built in 1972, but still useful. It is used in ongoing research in various areas, most of which I didn’t understand, but which include medical isotopes, high energy astrophysics, and materials science.
The main cyclotron uses permanent magnets that weigh a total of 4000 tons.
In these two photos, we are standing on the shielding atop the cyclotron – it is perhaps 40, 50 feet below us, separated from our location by building and about 12 feet of movable concrete block shielding.
The physicist leading our tour assured us that the magnetic field was not strong enough to affect credit card strips, but it was still pretty strong.
That’s a paper clip standing up on end. It was hard to get them to stay on the table. It had a slight tilt and they’d spin, almost frictionless, off the end. I managed to get that one steady enough to stay for a photo.
This is one on Chris’ hand.
Because they were standing on end, it was hard to get them to stay anywhere, as they had a strong tendency to spin along even gentle slopes.
I will attempt to post some more photos – it was fascinating to see actual science in action. It’s not nice and clean like you see in the movies – TRIUMF has huge overhead cranes to move massive concrete blocks, and a 4000-lb attachment that hooks the lifting power of two overhead cranes together when 1 53 ton crane just isn’t enough. There is equipment all over the place, everywhere, computers and engineering tools and mysterious shiny objects.
I wonder who vacuums the place? Most of it wasn’t too dusty.