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The Recycling of the Tevatron

Unknown Lamer posted more than 2 years ago | from the captain-planet-approved dept.

Science 71

ananyo writes with an excerpt from an article in Nature about the decomissioning of the Tevatron: "It is a 4,000-tonne edifice that stands three stories high, chock full of particle detectors, power supplies, electronics and photomultiplier tubes, all layered like a giant onion around a cylindrical magnet. During 26 years of operation at the Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory in Batavia, Illinois, this behemoth, the Collider Detector at Fermilab (CDF), helped to find the top quark and chased the Higgs boson. But since the lab's flagship particle collider, the Tevatron, was switched off in September 2011, the detector has been surplus stock — and it is now slowly being cannibalized for parts." Currently other projects are taking small bits and pieces of the Tevatron, but another Fermilab project, ORKA, wants to gut the collider to study kaon decay.

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DIY black hole (3, Funny)

TankSpanker04 (1266400) | more than 2 years ago | (#39126085)

Put it on eBay: "Create your own black hole!" Starting bid: $1 (no reserve)

Re:DIY black hole (1)

space fountain (1897346) | more than 2 years ago | (#39126145)

I think it's probably a little big for that, the shipping would be incredible. On a more serious note they're selling the detector not the accelerator.

Re:DIY black hole (1)

Taty'sEyes (2373326) | more than 2 years ago | (#39126895)

I think it's "local pick-up" only.

Re:DIY black hole (1)

tscheez (71929) | more than 2 years ago | (#39127759)

Great! I live next door. (Seriously)

Re:DIY black hole (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39130957)

So, what's the half-life of a Tevatron?

Uh, Ok? (0)

iONiUM (530420) | more than 2 years ago | (#39126139)

I'm confused why this is news. Can I buy the parts or something? What does it matter if they're selling the parts.

Re:Uh, Ok? (1, Insightful)

ananyo (2519492) | more than 2 years ago | (#39126333)

I'm confused why this is news. Can I buy the parts or something? What does it matter if they're selling the parts.

Woah! So it's not news or interesting unless you are *directly* affected? Generation Me [wikipedia.org] or what, dude? They're taking apart one of your nation's national treasures. Bits of it are being recommissioned because your physicists are broke. It's OK, you're right. Let's leave this "peer into the fabric of the universe and wonder at its awesomeness" stuff up to the Europeans. They'll have the Higgs by the end of the year anyway.

Re:Uh, Ok? (-1, Troll)

iONiUM (530420) | more than 2 years ago | (#39126377)

I'm not American.

Re:Uh, Ok? (1)

ananyo (2519492) | more than 2 years ago | (#39126411)

Neither am I. Still interesting. Point still stands. See comment below by JoshuaZ.

Re:Uh, Ok? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39126483)

Your accent sounds American to me.

Re:Uh, Ok? (1)

garyebickford (222422) | more than 2 years ago | (#39126653)

I would say the two primary criteria for 'what is news' are, "Will it affect me?" or "Is it something I can and should do something about?" Not necessarily directly - e.g. voting isn't generally a direct effect. If the story doesn't include one of these, then it's really not news, it's gossip or titillation.

Unfortunately nearly all 'news' these days is sex, car crashes or celebrity gossip - pandering to the biological drives.

On a related note, I finally understood the attraction of the gossip rags at the grocery checkout stand when I read about a study of monkeys, who had been trained to use a juice-based 'monetary system' - they could buy and sell. The researchers used the system to determine monkey preferences. They found that monkeys would pay 'money' to see pictures of the alpha members of the troop (which explains People Magazine), and pictures of naked monkey butts (which explains Penthouse and Cosmo). AFAIK they did not test pictures of monkeys being injured. That would have tested my hypothesis that the urge to see and look at car crashes is also biologically based.

Re:Uh, Ok? (1)

ananyo (2519492) | more than 2 years ago | (#39126937)

Well this piece isn't about sex, car crashes or celeb gossip - so I guess it's news. Seriously folks - this is a piece relating to a huge piece of scientific equipment that won scientists a few Nobels.It ties in that to the current financial situation in science. It also reports that the plan to display this to the public may be shelved (if the proposal to gut it entirely is accepted). Important stuff for scientists and those who are interested in the climate for basic science in the US. This isn't news? If it isn't to you, it clearly is to other Slashdotters.

Re: Monkey Juice Economics (1)

RenderSeven (938535) | more than 2 years ago | (#39130565)

Do you have a cite for that study? It sounds interesting. I could only find a passing reference to the study here [thedailybeast.com] . I also learned that Googling Monkey Juice Economics [google.com] is not particularly safe for work...

Re: Monkey Juice Economics (1)

garyebickford (222422) | more than 2 years ago | (#39131403)

Sorry, it was a while back and I don't recall the particulars. But it appears that you're on the right track.

Re:Uh, Ok? (1)

LordLimecat (1103839) | more than 2 years ago | (#39127117)

Yea, cause Europe totally doesnt have financial difficulties. Portugal, Ireland, Greece, Italy, all doing wonderful.

Something about "glass houses" and "throwing stones"...?

Re:Uh, Ok? (1)

mug funky (910186) | more than 2 years ago | (#39132451)

yes, but their collective situation and yet their continuing commitment to science makes this even more telling for the Americans, no?

Re:Uh, Ok? (1)

UnresolvedExternal (665288) | more than 2 years ago | (#39274769)

Ireland is fine - we have been stockpiling potatoes for years, we plan to not give them to English people when their economy dives....

That's not recycling; it's reusing! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39126165)

Recycling is breaking something down into component materials and re-fabricating those materials into new things. Unplugging a tube and plugging it in somewhere else isn't recycling. Still, it conserves natural resources, so what the hey.

Re:That's not recycling; it's reusing! (1)

garyebickford (222422) | more than 2 years ago | (#39126683)

IMHO it is. If I take a used carburetor out of a wrecked car, and put it on my that needs a replacement, isn't that recycling?

Re:That's not recycling; it's reusing! (2)

Lehk228 (705449) | more than 2 years ago | (#39126719)

it's reusing. recycling would be scrapping the part and making it into something else

Re:That's not recycling; it's reusing! (3, Informative)

amRadioHed (463061) | more than 2 years ago | (#39126801)

You know the three Rs of waste reduction? "Reduce, Reuse, Recycle", you and the GP are both talking about reusing. It's not the same as recycling, in fact it's better because it's more efficient.

Re:That's not recycling; it's reusing! (1)

spire3661 (1038968) | more than 2 years ago | (#39126919)

You are playing a semantics game, nothing more. Do you feel better about yourself now? Reuse and Recycle are mostly interchangeable in the context we are discussing.

Re:That's not recycling; it's reusing! (1)

Chris Burke (6130) | more than 2 years ago | (#39128503)

Right. The point of "reduce, reuse, recycle" is to help people keep in mind it's better to recycle by using something than it is to recycle by throwing it in the recycle bin.

So in that context it makes sense to distinguish.

But that usage does not define the terms in all cases.

Re:That's not recycling; it's reusing! (1)

mcgrew (92797) | more than 2 years ago | (#39129943)

No, they're not being pedantic, you're being ignorant. Recycle != reuse. If you're using them as synonyms you're using them wrong. Read what they told you and learn, rather than trying to defend your own ignorance.

Re:That's not recycling; it's reusing! (1)

RichardJenkins (1362463) | more than 2 years ago | (#39280603)

If Alice says "I reused a carburetor from a wrecked car" it means she took a carburetor from a wrecked car and used it, as a carburetor, in another car.

If Bob says "I recycled a carburetor from a wrecked car" it means he took a carburetor from a wrecked car, destroyed it, and used the raw materials to make something new.

https://www.google.co.uk/search?q=reuse+vs+recycle [google.co.uk]
www.care2.com/greenliving/why-reuse-beats-recycling.html

Does it really matter? (1)

rjune (123157) | more than 2 years ago | (#39128135)

Recycling is breaking something down into component materials and re-fabricating those materials into new things. Unplugging a tube and plugging it in somewhere else isn't recycling. Still, it conserves natural resources, so what the hey.

Parts that are not being used, are being transferred to active research projects saving a lot of money. This is a very good thing. Why are we splitting hairs on this?

Science fiction movie (1)

ch-chuck (9622) | more than 2 years ago | (#39126217)

Sounds like a great set for filming some sci fi - like they used to make movies when tearing down amusement parks and blowing up the roller coaster.

Minimal saving grace? (5, Insightful)

JoshuaZ (1134087) | more than 2 years ago | (#39126229)

The lack of funding for the Tevatron is deeply unfortunate. It almost certainly could still have been used for good research. Between this and the earlier cancellation of the SSC, the US seems to be doing its hardest to make sure that it isn't first in particle physics research. We're still doing a lot of good research at Fermilab. For example, MINOS is working on testing the recent FTL neutrino claim (and in fact, the OPERA group was paying careful attention to arrival times primarily because MINOS had previously discovered an anomaly which tentatively suggested that some neutrinos might be traveling faster than light). And the US is still doing very good physics in other areas, especially in solid state physics and plasma physics. But this a really bad trend. It fits into the same pattern as the recent budget cuts to Mars exploration, while we still have billions of dollars pumping into military boondoggles.

I'm happy that they can at least reuse the Tevatron, and kaon decay which is important for understanding CP violation http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/CP_violation [wikipedia.org] which may have implications for why there's apparently so much more matter than antimatter in the universe. But it really shouldn't be coming to this. Physicists shouldn't be desperately scrambling for parts while the cost of what they need is less than a new fighter squadron.

Re:Minimal saving grace? (1)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 2 years ago | (#39126479)

the US seems to be doing its hardest to make sure that it isn't first in particle physics research.

In all fairness, we're also abandoning a lot of other areas of scientific research too.

Wanna buy a space shuttle? We can cut you a deal.

Re:Minimal saving grace? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39126933)

Look, it's taking everything we've got to prop up the petrodollar, cut taxes on multinational corporations, and keep the banks from collapsing due to their incompetence. You expect us to do something meaningful for the human race at the same time as we're subsidizing two-legged vermin? The adults are talking now, go play with the children.

Re:Minimal saving grace? (1)

mug funky (910186) | more than 2 years ago | (#39132469)

don't forget "green" corn ethanol...

Re:Minimal saving grace? (1)

geniice (1336589) | more than 2 years ago | (#39126989)

Science has pretty much always involved scrambling for parts not least because a lot of stuff needed is a one off. Jodrell Bank Observatory for example was built with a lot of former military kit including bits of battleship turret. Scavenging stuff from previous experiments is a pretty standard skill across the sciences.

Re:Minimal saving grace? (1)

Gothmolly (148874) | more than 2 years ago | (#39127177)

Remember that culturally, the US no longer wants to be a special, leading country. The current administration has stated it, and is taking steps to ensure it.

Re:Minimal saving grace? (1, Offtopic)

mug funky (910186) | more than 2 years ago | (#39132475)

wow, turning it into GOP v Democrats, are we?

it really can be worked into any discussion, can't it?

Re:Minimal saving grace? (1)

Tassach (137772) | more than 2 years ago | (#39280567)

The fact that the GOP maintains a platform which is explicitly anti-science is relevant to any discussion about science, particularly any research which is publicly funded and doesn't directly benefit large corporations.

Re:Minimal saving grace? (1)

schlachter (862210) | more than 2 years ago | (#39127489)

It's hard to get funding when you're not a) blowing stuff up or b) concerned that others are trying to blow your stuff up. Sad.

Re:Minimal saving grace? (0)

jonwil (467024) | more than 2 years ago | (#39127595)

If the US government took the money they are spending on unnecessary and unneeded military projects like the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter and on maintaining expensive-to-run military bases in places like Okinawa and spent it on things that benefit mankind instead, the world would be a far better place.

Re:Minimal saving grace? (1)

Hatta (162192) | more than 2 years ago | (#39127663)

How do we know there's more matter than anti-matter? It's obvious that there's more matter than anti-matter near us, but how do we know we're not just an island of matter in a sea of anti-matter?

Re:Minimal saving grace? (1)

JoshuaZ (1134087) | more than 2 years ago | (#39128053)

Galactic collisions aren't that uncommon, and if there were any examples of anti-matter galaxies running into matter galaxies we'd be able to detect it. Moreover, if the exact same amount of anti-matter and matter was produced in the early universe, the most plausible models don't suggest big clumping of matter and anti-matter, they suggest that almost everything would just cancel out and return to energy. We don't see that.

Re:Minimal saving grace? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39127691)

> But it really shouldn't be coming to this. Physicists shouldn't be desperately scrambling for parts while the cost of what they need is less than a new fighter squadron.

As soon as those parts the physicists need allow them to blow up brown people, they'll get all they want. The fault is more on the physicists side here doing something that's not blowing the Enemy of the Decade up.

Re:Minimal saving grace? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39128061)

I think we should remove ALL of our military bases in europe.

We just don't need to be there anymore. That alone should free up some cash.

Re:Minimal saving grace? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39129473)

The problem is that in the US research is not done for research per se (l'art pourt l'art), but to demonstrate that they are the best and greatest and are admired by everyone but some freedom-hating barefooted tribes. Since the Tevatron is not the most powerful accelerator it lost its reason d'etre. Sad, but that's what you get if patriots run the show.

Cost? (1)

DarthVain (724186) | more than 2 years ago | (#39129909)

Well that depends using "a new fighter squadron" as a metric of measurement...

Lets see to convert, apparently there are 16 fighters in a US fighter squadron. "New", would have to refer to the new F35 fighter jets being built, the cheapest of which is estimated to cost about 122$ million dollars.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lockheed_Martin_F-35_Lightning_II [wikipedia.org]

So some rough calculations mean those poor scientists only need 1952 Million dollars, or in general terms about 2 Billion! :)

Re:Cost? (1)

JoshuaZ (1134087) | more than 2 years ago | (#39131915)

Yeah, so that looks like I actually massively overestimated how much we're talking about then. The Tevatron cost around 50 million a year to run. http://www.wired.com/wiredscience/2010/10/tevatron-higgs-extension/ [wired.com] . So in fact the cost is closer to that of half a fighter jet.

Re:Minimal saving grace? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39130605)

Its not as if the US isnt heavily involved in CERN though. I think thats always missed. The LHC is really a world wide project hosted at the European lab (its got to be hosted somewhere right). There are plenty of US institutes involved.

Koan decay (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39126265)

What is the decay of a particle that doesn't exist?

Re:Koan decay (2)

stillnotelf (1476907) | more than 2 years ago | (#39126907)

It decays at the same rate as one hand can clap.

Re:Koan decay (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39127671)

It decays at the same rate as one hand can clap.

So, from the sound of this [youtube.com] , two or three times a second?

Re:Koan decay (1)

mug funky (910186) | more than 2 years ago | (#39132489)

well played, sir.

whoever modded this down is a nincompoop.

US physics decline parallels the space program (2)

peter303 (12292) | more than 2 years ago | (#39126321)

The US will be down to one active cyclotron-collider by the end of this year and not world class anymore. Some of the older accelerators have been recycled: Stanford Linear Accelerator where two of the quark mesons were discovered is now one of the worlds most powerful xray sources. This can see molecular size objects or time slices faster than a chemical reaction.

the US space program can no longer launch astronauts into orbit. Earliest will be next decade. Space probes have been cut to the two in development with nothing beyond that funded.

Re:US physics decline parallels the space program (3, Funny)

HBI (604924) | more than 2 years ago | (#39126487)

We're just leading from behind.

Re:US physics decline parallels the space program (1)

KZigurs (638781) | more than 2 years ago | (#39140831)

Well, you are big on gay rights though, yes.

Re:US physics decline parallels the space program (1)

HBI (604924) | more than 2 years ago | (#39140915)

Me personally? Sure. The majority of the US? No, not really.

Re:US physics decline parallels the space program (2)

majortom1981 (949402) | more than 2 years ago | (#39128497)

There is still the rhic which still does things that no other collider can do (proton spin). Its also being upgraded to an erhic and they do test upgrades to it for the lhc . The rhic also providesthe elements for Nasas space raditation lab. Also the NSLS II is also being built at brookhaven.

Re:US physics decline parallels the space program (2)

slowness (576562) | more than 2 years ago | (#39128817)

RHIC is currently in jeapordy as well. If the DoE & NSF cuts weren't bad enough It is also in competition for money with the FRIB project at Michigan State U. The NASA Space Radiation Lab (NSRL) uses beam from the Booster and operates without RHIC. Just FYI. FTFY.

Geeks never throw away old tech stuff (2)

PolygamousRanchKid (1290638) | more than 2 years ago | (#39126495)

They always say, "Maybe I'll need it someday . . . ", or "I might be able to scavenge some parts . . ."

And the stuff just sits around forever . . . right next to my Token Ring network card, tangled up in cables with wacky connectors . . .

They just can't part with the Tevatron . . . this recycling line is just an excuse to keep it around.

Re:Geeks never throw away old tech stuff (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39126847)

"I may one day need that in the post-apocalypse to MacGuyver together a robot to fend off zombie-velociraptors."

That's what really goes through our minds when trying to toss out old technology.

Re:Geeks never throw away old tech stuff (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39127273)

Yeah I have about 200 yards of ethernet cable coiled up in a box in my closet. I have a wireless router, but I can't bring myself to get rid of the cable.

Re:Geeks never throw away old tech stuff (1)

Phroon (820247) | more than 2 years ago | (#39128459)

They just can't part with the Tevatron . . . this recycling line is just an excuse to keep it around.

Assuming you would want to, it is non-trivial to just dispose of 4 miles of superconducting magnets.

Anyways, the part of the Tevatron that you are most likely to find reuse is the 4 miles of tunnel. The civil construction to dig a tunnel that big, complete with tunnel penetrations and service buildings is a significant portion of the cost of any project. You would be a fool to just fill in such a valuable commodity just because you don't have a use of it today.

And that's ignoring all the parts that are already being scrounged for use in the NoVA upgrades. So no, keeping it around is not merely a case of geek sentiment.

Re:Geeks never throw away old tech stuff (1)

Chris Burke (6130) | more than 2 years ago | (#39128669)

Anyways, the part of the Tevatron that you are most likely to find reuse is the 4 miles of tunnel. The civil construction to dig a tunnel that big, complete with tunnel penetrations and service buildings is a significant portion of the cost of any project. You would be a fool to just fill in such a valuable commodity just because you don't have a use of it today.

What uses are there for 4 miles of tunnel that's in some random location not in an urban center? Not much. Just like there's not much use for the 14 mi of tunnel dug for the SSC, which lies unused in Texas.

It would be foolish to fill it in, that's true. Which is why they won't. They'll just leave the tunnel there. Maybe in the future someone will use it to build a new colllider (the LHC used pre-existing tunnels from a previous collider, but other than that...

Re:Geeks never throw away old tech stuff (2)

WillgasM (1646719) | more than 2 years ago | (#39128867)

Mushroom farm. That was one of the better ideas for the abandoned SSC.

This is not news (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39126697)

First of all this article is about recycling parts of an experiment at the Tevatron, not so much the Tevatron itself. But regardless....

This is not news. These experiments are just a collection of parts, many of which can be re-used. I guarantee you CDF re-used parts from other experiments at times too. You wouldn't do an optics experiment and then toss away all the lenses and mirrors and then go buy new. That would be a waste. A chemist doesn't buy a whole new set of beakers for each experiment he needs to run.

Sure this is bigger and on a longer time scale, but it's all just parts. Even if they remove the large central magnet, they will put in a mock-up and a visitor will never know the difference. It's not just driven by tight budgets. It was always this way. If you can save $$$ reusing something, you have more money to spend on the cutting edge stuff you also need.

uses for the tevatron (accelerator) (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39126747)

I think the Tevatron is the second most powerful accelerator on the planet in terms of collision energies. Cern has way outclassed it in collision energies, but it's still a world class piece of equipment. The Stanford Linear accelerator (SLAC) made a great electron source, for a collaminated X ray source. I think it's by far the brightest in the world, enabling experiments that can be done no where else. What could be done with the Tevatron? It's a shame not to use it somehow.

Re:uses for the tevatron (accelerator) (1)

Tapewolf (1639955) | more than 2 years ago | (#39128515)

I think the Tevatron is the second most powerful accelerator on the planet in terms of collision energies. Cern has way outclassed it in collision energies, but it's still a world class piece of equipment. The Stanford Linear accelerator (SLAC) made a great electron source, for a collaminated X ray source. I think it's by far the brightest in the world, enabling experiments that can be done no where else. What could be done with the Tevatron? It's a shame not to use it somehow.

Looking at the diagram in the article, it looks like the particle source and the initial accelerator/storage ring is still live, they plan to use it for some kind of neutrino experiments. The main ring and detectors are what's being gutted AFAIK (which isn't saying much).

TOURS! (3, Interesting)

sgauss (639539) | more than 2 years ago | (#39127241)

I used to bike around the grounds of FNAL; I'd love to see them open up the tunnels and see a little of the other side!

Meth heads (2)

Sporkinum (655143) | more than 2 years ago | (#39127455)

Since it's in a rural area, I bet if the word got out, the meth heads would be all over it to steal the copper. It would end up looking like one of those old abandoned military sites in Russia.

Re:Meth heads (2)

tscheez (71929) | more than 2 years ago | (#39127851)

Yeah, cause meth heads won't get stopped by the 24hr security guards at each entrance or stopped by security near the restricted access roads. It's not abandoned, just off.

They do have buffalo on the grounds that you can go see, but they warn you at the gate that you can't just go anywhere.

Re:Meth heads (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39128165)

I've never been issued that warning when going to see the bison.

Re:Meth heads (1)

LanMan04 (790429) | more than 2 years ago | (#39128603)

Since it's in a rural area, I bet if the word got out, the meth heads would be all over it to steal the copper. It would end up looking like one of those old abandoned military sites in Russia.

Rural? It's in the middle (well, western side) of the Chicago burbs! Within a mile or so of the ring it's farmland, but beyond that you're in a very heavily populated area. This is not on the outskirts of Pontiac, IL or something.

http://g.co/maps/kw2x9 [g.co]

Re:Meth heads (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39129797)

It's more rural than the area around Argonne National Laboratory...

They both used to be rural, but...Chicagoland spreads like a tumor.

Nascar should get involved. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39280741)

Tevatron would make a great Nascar oval.

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