Magazine article ASEE Prism

Exit Atom-Smasher

Magazine article ASEE Prism

Exit Atom-Smasher

Article excerpt

IT'S MASSIVE and massively historic. Built in the mid-193Os at Columbia University, the hulking,30-ton cyclotron split atomic nuclei using an enormous electromagnet to hurl and smash particles at the breakneck speed of 25,000 miles per hour. The information gleaned from these experiments helped the U.S. build the first atom bomb.

The cyclotron has long been eclipsed: Next month, when the world's most powerful particle accelerator is activated outside Geneva at CERN, the European Organization for Nuclear Research, particles will fly around the track of the Large Hadron Collider at nearly the speed of light-approximately 670 million m.p.h. But Columbia is again supporting a new threshold of nuclear research in joining an international consortium of 1,800 physicists involved with CERN.The school has also purchased a high-speed online connection to this premier atom-smasher, gaining access to CERN data at the rate of one gigabit per second. …

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