June 18, 2013

Giant Electromagnet Starts Long Trip from Brookhaven to Fermilab

[UPDATE: Storms in the U.S. Northeast region will delay the start of the "Big Move"; details at the Chicago Tribune. The Delaware Online reports,
"Scientists will begin the move next Saturday, taking the magnet from its location on the 5,300-acre Brookhaven campus to the front gate — a distance of about 1.8 miles. The following day, they are expected to move the magnet south along the William Floyd Parkway for 6 miles to Smith Point Park on the Atlantic Ocean. From there, it will be loaded onto a barge and will proceed down the East Coast, around the tip of Florida and up the Mississippi, Illinois and Des Plaines rivers."
Over the next few weeks, you may be fortunate enough to see - but hopefully not be stuck in traffic behind - some eye-poppingly huge particle physics gear traveling down a highway near you. This week, the 50-foot diameter, 15-ton Muon g-2 ("gee minus two") electromagnet was inched out of its current location at Brookhaven National Laboratory on a custom-designed rig, starting a 3200-mile long journey over highways and sea to its new home in Chicago's western suburbs. [Video copyright Emmert International, who are handling the transport logistics of the "big move."]

You can monitor the Muon g-2's progress on this live interactive map, updated every few hours, from the Atlantic seaboard down around the tip of Florida, into the Gulf of Mexico, and finally up through Alabama and several Southern states, through St. Louis, to its final destination at Fermilab in Batavia, Illinois. Why go to such heroic efforts to relocate the Muon g-2? According to Lee Roberts of Boston University, spokesperson for the Muon g-2 experiment,
"It costs about 10 times less to move the magnet from Brookhaven to Illinois than it would to build a new one, so that's what we're going to do. It's an enormous effort from all sides, but it will be worth it."
Fermilab's website explains the details of the project, and the new research capabilities the equipment will provide:
"The muon, like its lighter sibling the electron, acts like a spinning magnet. The parameter known as "g" indicates how strong the magnet is and the rate of its gyration. The value of g is slightly larger than 2, hence the name of the experiment. This difference from 2 is caused by the presence of virtual particles that appear from the vacuum and then quickly disappear into it again....In measuring g-2 with high precision and comparing its value to the theoretical prediction, physicists will discover whether the experiment agrees with theory. Any deviation would point to as yet undiscovered subatomic particles that exist in nature."
More images and videos of the Muon g-2 Project and the "Big Move" can be found at Fermilab

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