in the News
A Question of Quarks
Island Paradise Regained
Understanding Cells in a New
Way with Three-Dimensional Models
Deputy Director for Operations
Vision into Reality
FOR decades, Lawrence Livermores
often unheralded engineering crew has been translating
physicists doodles on napkins and complex equations on white
boards into devices and entire facilities that fill some new or long-standing
need. The National Ignition Facility, whose powerful lasers will create
a thermonuclear explosion in a laboratory, is the most visible case
in point at Livermore now. But other examples abound. Certainly the
scientists in the High-Energy Physics Group would not be able to make
the scientific advances they do in basic nuclear and particle physics
without Livermores crew of experienced engineers.
The article entitled A
Question of Quarks is a testament to this capability. Livermore
is part of a worldwide collaboration that is using the Relativistic
Heavy-Ion Collider (RHIC) at Brookhaven National Laboratory to try
to create a quarkgluon plasma, a state of matter that scientists
suspect existed during the earliest moments after the big bang. Livermore
designed and oversaw construction and installation of the giant magnets
in the Pioneering High-Energy Nuclear Interaction Experiment (PHENIX)
detector, one of four complementary detectors around the colliders
tunnel. The steel magnets weigh 3.6 million kilograms, and the detector
incorporates comparably big, complicated engineering.
PHENIX had to be capable of
measurements of unprecedented precision. The theory of fundamental
particles and how they interact predicts that quarks can never be
seen directly. Instead, scientists must infer their presence from
the combined results of many measurements, such as particle momentum.
Collecting these data requires that PHENIXs massive magnets
create a large magnetic field parallel to the accelerated beams of
gold ions in the central region of the detector and a field perpendicular
to the beams on the detectors north and south arms. In addition,
the magnetic field in the arms must go to zero in the beam region
so that it does not deflect the trajectories of the ions in the accelerator.
Fitting the detector in the tunnel required that the magnets generating
these fields be as compact as possible.
B Factory at the Stanford Linear Accelerator Center is another example
of how Livermores engineers make big science happen. Like PHENIX,
the B Factory, which includes the PEP-II electronpositron collider
and the BaBar detector, was designed to answer questions related to
our early universe: Why is there a preponderance of matter over antimatter
in the universe? What happened during the big bang that caused so
little antimatter to remain? Experiments at the B Factory are just
now beginning to supply information that may answer these questions.
During the 1990s, nearly 200
Livermore specialists in accelerator technology and advanced manufacturing
helped to design and produce major components for the B Factory. Perhaps
the most complex were the high-power radio-frequency cavities for
the colliderthe most powerful of their kind ever builtthat
maintain electron and positron beams at their proper energy level.
PHENIX and the B Factory are
opening new windows on the subatomic world, providing scientists with
a more complete and accurate picture of the fundamental nature of
matter and energy. Although few organizations could have undertaken
these projects, Livermore is that rare breed with the capabilities
necessary to meet the challenge. Our knowledgeable and experienced
engineering staff comes through every time, translating a physicists
vision into reality.
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January 23, 2003