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Tour of the Stanford Linear Accelerator Center

ScuttleMonkey posted more than 7 years ago | from the straight-and-narrow dept.

Science 98

Thomas Hawk writes "Last month Robert Scoble and I were able to do a video/photo shoot of the Stanford Linear Accelerator Center (SLAC) with SLAC Emeritus Bebo White. SLAC is both the longest and straightest building in the world and is the home of three Nobel Prizes in physics. There is also a video tour available; part one and part two."

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Thank you, thank you, thank you... (0, Offtopic)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 7 years ago | (#18290526)

...for providing download links. This is the kind of thing I want to save and share. Not that you can't rip stuff from youboob with videodownloader.

Hardcore geek humor (2, Funny)

pestie (141370) | more than 7 years ago | (#18290574)

"SLACware" jokes in 3... 2... 1...

Re:Hardcore geek humor (0, Redundant)

ghoti (60903) | more than 7 years ago | (#18290738)

That video was posted weeks ago! Somebody's been SLACing off, apparently. Though I will cut them some SLAC, since the videos are really quite interesting. That's a SLAC piece of equipment they have there at SLACford ...

Re:Hardcore geek humor (0, Redundant)

skoaldipper (752281) | more than 7 years ago | (#18290948)

That video was posted weeks ago! Somebody's been SLACing off, apparently.
Aw, comeon man. Show some SleeSLAC [howardhallis.com] love to the SLACdot editors.

Re:Hardcore geek humor (1)

croddy (659025) | more than 7 years ago | (#18291334)

Sure, but have you heard the song? [archive.org]

I'm more interested in ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18290578)

I've been through the Saskatoon linear accelerator (now the Canada Light Source thingy) and the UBC TRIUMF facility, so the article is very interesting, but what I'm really interested in the origin of the name "Bebo" ...that sounds more like a web-startup from 2000 or a nickname like "Scooter" (Libby).

Re:I'm more interested in ... (2, Interesting)

Thomas Hawk (796343) | more than 7 years ago | (#18291286)

I can't remember Bebo's real name but he has been going by Bebo all his life. If memory serves correct, he got the name when he was a child. I think it was what his sister called him and it's the name that stuck with him his entire life. He really is a great guy and gave us a great view of SLAC. I'm looking forward to going back there to take photos and film part III with Robert and Shel.

Re:I'm more interested in ... (0, Offtopic)

arminw (717974) | more than 7 years ago | (#18292478)

I remember Bebo at the Computer Center quite well. I worked with him as an interested member of the SLAC user community. I helped him and his group concerning certain aspects the three mainframe IBM computers sort of lashed together. They called that the "Triplex".

Re:I'm more interested in ... (1)

Philomathie (937829) | more than 7 years ago | (#18291968)

Oddly enough, it IS an internet startup, but it's still going strong today! It's the second most popular social networking site in the UK and ranks above the likes of IMDB, Microsoft, MSN and EBay.

Longest building in the world? (5, Funny)

ScentCone (795499) | more than 7 years ago | (#18290632)

Maybe it is. But I think that the time I had to pull several thousand feet of CAT5 through an old retail building that was constructed entirely of:

1) Rat feces

2) Razor-wire-lined plaster/lathe ceilings

3) Meter-thick sedimentary deposits of cigarette smoke

4) Did I mention rat feces?

... well, that sure seemed like the longest building in the world. We actually had places where we used a crossbow and fishing line.

Re:Longest building in the world? (1)

Intron (870560) | more than 7 years ago | (#18290930)

RC cars can be good, too.

Re:Longest building in the world? (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 7 years ago | (#18291364)

It's all about radio-controlled tanks. It's a lot easier to get them unstuck without pulling them back towards you. You can typically pick up a decent model at radio shack. I like the crossbow idea, though.

Re:Longest building in the world? (3, Interesting)

Loudog (9867) | more than 7 years ago | (#18297390)

I worked at SLAC for more than 6 years, night shift in the accelerator maintenance. It's not the rat droppings, it's the black widows you need to watch for. I once killed more than 20 of them -- and that was in one sector (100m), on one task (ranging). And that's only the ones that were in my way.

I still miss the place, but like my current job better.

-- Loudog
-- Listening to the song of the klystrons

Question (4, Interesting)

MyLongNickName (822545) | more than 7 years ago | (#18290638)

"Straightest building". Does this mean that the building is constructed to take into account the curvature of the earth? Granted this would only be less than half a meter (if I did the math right), but would seem to be important in this sensitive of a project.

Re:Question (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18290894)

No. It just means fewest mac users.

Re:Question (1)

The Great Pretender (975978) | more than 7 years ago | (#18291330)

Am I the only one who found this funny?

Re:Question (1)

mustafap (452510) | more than 7 years ago | (#18291560)


>Am I the only one who found this funny?

No, you are the only one who dared say :o)

Re:Question (1)

PYves (449297) | more than 7 years ago | (#18292400)

Imagine if they didn't take it into account, it'd be the most high-tech see-saw ever.

Re:Question (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18295288)

Haven't you seen the presentation of the new iCurve(tm) yet? ;)

Re:Question (2, Informative)

Emnar (116467) | more than 7 years ago | (#18290900)

Yes, the building itself does curve with the surface. I have been in it, and if you kneel down on one end you can see the earth's curve looking toward the other end (when there isn't something in the aisle on either side of the cyclotrons).

Re:Question (1)

oliverthered (187439) | more than 7 years ago | (#18291024)

I think it would only have to take account of the gravity of the earth

Re:Question (2, Insightful)

marked23 (693822) | more than 7 years ago | (#18291062)

I'm no physicist, but I think in order to "be straight" it must follow the curve of earth's gravitational field. Not sure if I understand that correctly, but if physicists say that an orbit is a straight line through space/time (in a sense), then it follows that a straight line inside a planetary gravitational field would have a curve to it.

Re:Question (2, Interesting)

ortholattice (175065) | more than 7 years ago | (#18291732)

Not sure if I understand that correctly, but if physicists say that an orbit is a straight line through space/time (in a sense), then it follows that a straight line inside a planetary gravitational field would have a curve to it.

The curve you are talking about is the path that a light beam would follow, not the curvature of the earth. Otherwise, the earth would look flat to someone on the surface, and of course it doesn't, since ships, etc. disappear over the horizon.

That said, I don't understand why the building would follow the curvature of the earth, if what the other poster above who visited there is correct. Could it just be for practical building construction reasons, so that you can wash the floors without the water running downhill to the center? The high-speed particles in the accelerator are going to be affected negligibly by gravity and certainly will not follow the curvature of the earth. Perhaps the accelerator itself is offset at each end compared to the middle?

Re:Question (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18292718)

Yes. The actual accelerator (like all currently built) is truly straight so the distance between the floor of the klystron gallery (the long building on the surface) and beam pipe beneath varies. As someone else mentioned the variation is negligible (from an engineering perspective).

In contrast, the International Linear Collider, which will be tens of kilometres long, will curve to follow the surface of the earth, since it is long enough that it would create engineering problems to try and go in a straight line - you wouldn't be able to just follow a layer of tunnel-able rock, for example.

Straight means completely straight (3, Interesting)

Bananenrepublik (49759) | more than 7 years ago | (#18291554)

That is the point about straightest building. They're accelerating electrons, so bremsstrahlung (= energy loss due to curves, grows very fast with decreasing particle mass, decreases slowly with the radius of curvature) is a real problem. In order to eliminate bremsstrahlung, the SLAC building doesn't follow the earth's curvature, but instead is straight in the same sense that a lightbeam is straigh.

I once calculated the amount of energy the LEP (CERN's old huge accelerator, a 20km approx. circle) lost due to bremsstrahlung. IIRC it amounted to one 100W lightbulb every 10cm or 20MW of enrergy loss, simply due to the curvature.

Currently a new huge linear accelerator is being discussed inside the scientific community. They want to use supraconducting magnets, which in terms requires large reservoirs of cooling liquids. Since liquids are subject to gravitation it may be that they will build it following the earth's curvature in order to keep the cooling circuits simpler. These issues haven't been decided yet.

Re:Straight means completely straight (1)

Bananenrepublik (49759) | more than 7 years ago | (#18291602)

I should have made this clear: the bremsstrahlung losses of the LEP were due to the 20km circle of the accelerator, not the earth radius.

Re:Straight means completely straight (1)

students (763488) | more than 7 years ago | (#18292076)

Watts are a unit of power, not energy. Which did you calculate?

Re:Straight means completely straight (1)

swarsron (612788) | more than 7 years ago | (#18292528)

>bremsstrahlung (= energy loss due to curves, grows very fast with decreasing particle mass,

You probably meant that it grows with increasing particle mass

Re:Straight means completely straight (1)

dwater (72834) | more than 7 years ago | (#18297154)

> but instead is straight in the same sense that a lightbeam is straight

I thought light was bent by gravity too...

Re:Question (2, Informative)

athena_wiles (967508) | more than 7 years ago | (#18295306)

I think SLAC actually does NOT follow the curvature of the earth. I remember touring it as a fifth grader and being rather amazed when they told us that you can get on rollerblades at one end & have gravity pull you (albeit very slowly) toward the middle.

Also, as one of the previous posters noted, if you have electrons going at relativistic speeds and you force them to curve to match the curvature of the earth, you're essentially going to be creating a sort of a syncrotron radiation source (SLAC does have one of these, but it's not in the main accelerator), and that energy loss isn't advantageous for the sorts of high-energy physics experiments they try to conduct in this accelerator.

Re:Question about straightness of the building (1)

erichill (583191) | more than 7 years ago | (#18303570)

The accelerator itself follows an exactly straight line, it traces a chord [wikipedia.org] . The surface building, which is actually over the accelerator and contains the power systems and microwave generators, follows the curvature of the Earth.

When I visited the place I put my head on the floor and could see it curving out of view.

Re:Question (1)

langeveld (1076711) | more than 7 years ago | (#18378403)

Yes, the accelerator really is straight in that sense. My back of the envelope calculation says it's about 20 cm deeper in the center than at the start and end. I'm not really sure if the floor of the building is that straight, though, and it doesn't really have to be - it would be really hard to make that happen in a single pour of concrete (according to my info they did in fact pour the entire 2 miles in a single pour, hundreds of cement trucks were lined up). The accelerator is mounted on a "strongback" which is a pipe some 50 cm in diameter. This strongback was aligned, by laser, to be straight. During the Loma Prieta earthquake the alignment was thrown off by a couple of inches, and there was an extensive realignment procedure in the months following.

Longest building in the world? (0)

Sciros (986030) | more than 7 years ago | (#18290650)

Do [big and awesome] walls count as buildings? Wiki refers to it as the longest building in the US, so maybe they mean the Great Wall to be the longest in the world?

Re:Longest building in the world? (2, Informative)

MyLongNickName (822545) | more than 7 years ago | (#18290678)

A wall is not a building [wikipedia.org] .

Re:Longest building in the world? (1)

metlin (258108) | more than 7 years ago | (#18292910)

Wallist!

Humph.

Re:Longest building in the world? (1)

MyLongNickName (822545) | more than 7 years ago | (#18293838)

Wouldn't that make me a "structurist"?

Re:Longest building in the world? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18295408)

And after these eternal words, there was much rejoicing under Perl aficionados world wide.

Re:Longest building in the world? (1)

dwater (72834) | more than 7 years ago | (#18297222)

How about CERN's SPS? Wikipedia says it's 2km in diameter, which would make it 2PI km long ~= 6km. That's close to twice as long as SLAC.

OK, so it can't claim to be the straightest, but if SLAC is going to claim the straightest title, then it should also qualify it's longest claim as 'longest straight building'.

Also, I'd like to take this opportunity to say that I think the claim that the great wall of china is not a building to be complete bollocks.

Re:Longest building in the world? (1)

dwater (72834) | more than 7 years ago | (#18297244)

> Also, I'd like to take this opportunity to say that I think the claim that the great wall of china is not a building to be complete bollocks.

I might add, there are many places along the great wall that indeed were intended for permanent human occupancy - probably soldiers, of course, but they're still human.

I still think the wikipedia definition is bollocks though.

and so close to san francisco (5, Funny)

Dolly_Llama (267016) | more than 7 years ago | (#18290668)

SLAC is both the longest and straightest building in the world

I'm a gay particle physicist, you insensitive clod!

Re:and so close to san francisco (1)

Chacham (981) | more than 7 years ago | (#18291362)

I'm a gay particle physicist

What's a gay particle?

Re:and so close to san francisco (1)

Kozar_The_Malignant (738483) | more than 7 years ago | (#18291450)

I'm a gay particle physicist

What's a gay particle?
The charm quark or the strange quark?

Re:and so close to san francisco (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18291630)

If you're still in the closet, it's the truth quark and if you're a queen it's the beauty quark.
If you only receive, the bottom quark, and if you only give it, the top.

That's all I got. Thankfully

Re:and so close to san francisco (1)

moosesocks (264553) | more than 7 years ago | (#18293860)

For the uninitiated:
The Charm Quark [wikipedia.org] and Strange Quark [wikipedia.org] actually do exist.

Re:and so close to san francisco (1)

jtroy92 (1065726) | more than 7 years ago | (#18295910)

try top and bottom. hot...

Nothing Shouts Serious, Professional Scientist (3, Funny)

Seumas (6865) | more than 7 years ago | (#18290680)

Nothing shouts serious, professional scientist like the name Bebo.

Re:Nothing Shouts Serious, Professional Scientist (0, Troll)

Red Flayer (890720) | more than 7 years ago | (#18290980)

Nothing shouts serious, professional scientist like the name Bebo.
As opposed to these physicists:

Zoltán Lajos Bay
Neils Bohr
Gerd Binnig
Fritjof Capra
Hippolyte Fizeau
Tsung-Dao Lee
Thanu Padmanabhan

Because nothing says scientific rigor like thinking that someone's name, because it is different for cultural or other reasons, has anything to do with their scientific ability.

I know, you were 'making a funny' -- but one would think that your average scientifically-interested slashdotter wouldn't... oh wait. Never mind.

Re:Nothing Shouts Serious, Professional Scientist (3, Funny)

Seumas (6865) | more than 7 years ago | (#18293224)

No, those physicists sound completely legitimate. On the other hand, Bebo sounds like a little furry pokemon thing or some sort of cute anime character. Well, except Zoltan. That guy sounds like he's either a Transformer or he's trying to generate massive earth-based black-holes so he can hold the planet ransom for one million dollars.

Also, your average scientifically-interested slashdotter apparently things that a refrigerator modified to catapult you a can of beer is awe-inspiring and amazing. I don't put much stock in the interests of the average slashdot reader. I'm only back here because Slashdot still picks up better stories than Digg and is less spammy and redundant about it. Good old slashdot. Like a nice drunk ex-girlfriend that will always answer a booty-call.

Re:Nothing Shouts Serious, Professional Scientist (1)

Red Flayer (890720) | more than 7 years ago | (#18294362)

I must've gotten up on the wrong side of the bed this morning. But making fun of a physicist's name? Surely there is some more original humor to be found in the article?

FYI, Zoltan is a non-extraordinary Hungarian name. Zoltar was a GI Joe baddie, IIRC.

I'm only back here because Slashdot still picks up better stories than Digg and is less spammy and redundant about it. Good old slashdot.

I'll agree with you there.

Somehow I feel like I've fallen out of step with the slashdot zeitgeist, though. Has there been a massive transformation in the slashdot crowd, or am I just getting old and cranky?

Re:Nothing Shouts Serious, Professional Scientist (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18295032)

Which also means "I drink" in Portuguese.
Go figure.

Re:Nothing Shouts Serious, Professional Scientist (1)

ndurbin (1073842) | more than 7 years ago | (#18304232)

hey don't dis Bebo. I have met him and he is quite jovial, but probably when it comes to his work, like a linear accelerator, he is serious and professional.

Proton beam (2, Interesting)

mattr (78516) | more than 7 years ago | (#18290702)

I visited RIKEN's accelerator in Wako City, Saitama Prefecture, Japan last year and was told they were one of only three facilities in the world manufacturing proton beams for medical purposes. The other two were in Germany and at Stanford, but I was told that Stanford had closed its facility so now there are only two.

Perhaps antimatter is better than proton beam, I don't know. Sounded like it is extremely expensive to run.. anybody know? I saw how RIKEN uses CAD to design thick IIRC bronze beam masks. It is underground and the whole building is built like a ship apparently, separate from the surrounding earth, which presumably helps it stably ride out earthquakes. They opened in Dec. 2006 the most powerful radioisotope accelerator, accelerating aluminum to 70% c.

I am not a physicist nor do I work there but am curious about these aspects concerning the place mentioned in the article.

Re:Proton beam (2, Informative)

niklask (1073774) | more than 7 years ago | (#18291020)

I visited RIKEN's accelerator in Wako City, Saitama Prefecture, Japan last year and was told they were one of only three facilities in the world manufacturing proton beams for medical purposes. The other two were in Germany and at Stanford, but I was told that Stanford had closed its facility so now there are only two.

You are confused. SLAC != Stanford. SLAC is operated by Stanford under an agreement with the DoE. The accelerator at SLAC does not provide proton beams. It has been a electron-positron machine ever since operations started. It is currently supplying the BaBar experiment with electrons and positrons and it is also undergoing modifications to accomodate the LCLS, the Linacc Coherent Light Source.

Perhaps antimatter is better than proton beam, I don't know.

Better for what purpose? Remember, it is damn hard to store antiprotons, not to mention antimatter.

Re:Proton beam (1)

sconeu (64226) | more than 7 years ago | (#18291550)

t is currently supplying the BaBar experiment with electrons and positrons and it is also undergoing modifications to accomodate the LCLS

So now we have talking French elephants doing particle physics?

Re:Proton beam (1)

niklask (1073774) | more than 7 years ago | (#18291592)

So now we have talking French elephants doing particle physics?

Yes, pink ones too.

Re:Proton beam (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18310590)

Yes, they are. [symmetrymagazine.org]

The purpose is... (1)

Mark of THE CITY (97325) | more than 7 years ago | (#18294322)

...cancer treatment. If I understand correctly, positrons have been used experimentally to treat cancer. There is another Slashdot article covering this.

Re:Proton beam (1)

mattr (78516) | more than 7 years ago | (#18357637)

I see, thanks. I was told this info by the Japanese at RIKEN, that Stanford had closed a similar facility. And that Japan could only afford it because it was on the political agenda. I remember a 300 million dollar number but don't know if that is yearly or what it cost to build.

I meant better for anticancer. TFA states 4 times better IIRC.

As for elephants, a RIKEN page in which it collaborates with another lab (I don't remember if it is Brookhaven or what) calls itself experiements with particles that weigh as much as bulls, with a logo of two bulls slamming into each other horn to horn.

Re:Proton beam (1)

niklask (1073774) | more than 7 years ago | (#18358167)

I see, thanks. I was told this info by the Japanese at RIKEN, that Stanford had closed a similar facility. And that Japan could only afford it because it was on the political agenda. I remember a 300 million dollar number but don't know if that is yearly or what it cost to build.



Stanford might have had a similar facility, but that facility is not SLAC.



As for elephants, a RIKEN page in which it collaborates with another lab (I don't remember if it is Brookhaven or what) calls itself experiements with particles that weigh as much as bulls, with a logo of two bulls slamming into each other horn to horn.



There are no such heavy particles. Remember, particles are smaller than atoms. There are some really heavy, particle-wise, particles but far from bulls. Must be some analogy of some sort. The BaBar experiment was first called the B-Bbar experiment because it is an experiment where they measure properties of the B-Bbar system. BaBar is just a nicer name.

Re:Proton beam (1)

treeves (963993) | more than 7 years ago | (#18291996)

There was a proton facility at Loma Linda Medical Center when I was there a few years ago. Not sure what you meant by manufacturing proton beams. Maybe those places you mentioned made the equipment used at LLMC.

AmTech Day (3, Insightful)

leighklotz (192300) | more than 7 years ago | (#18290760)

SLAC is kind enough to allow the Foothiils Amateur Radio Society to hold a monthly outdoor/indoor amateur radio symposium and operating event there, called AmTech Day [k6ya.org] . Now that no morse code test is required for any level of amateur license in the US, it's a great time to get into amateur radio and experiment with digital communications, microwave technology, satellites, or even Maker [makezine.com] style operations such as bouncing radio waves off the ionosphere with equipment you can build yourself.

straight? (1)

mastershake_phd (1050150) | more than 7 years ago | (#18290864)

Straight? Thats not what I heard.

To Bad (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18290868)

the accelerator wasn't working....

Huh? They don't even go inside (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18291116)

Just took a quick look at the videos. They don't even go inside the damn accelerator. What a freaking waste of time!

So... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18291244)

Did they mention that SLAC is laid out directly across an earthquake fault, and point out what challenges that presents in keeping it "the straightest building in the world"?

Re:So... (2, Informative)

Thomas Hawk (796343) | more than 7 years ago | (#18291582)

Bebo did mention this and actually showed us an apparatus that they use to realign the the accelerator. It's this big tube that sits beneath the actual accelerator tube and can be moved with Jacks. There is a target that a beam is shot through to make sure it is straight. Here is a photo of an intersection of the tube. http://beta.zooomr.com/photos/thomashawk/735653 [zooomr.com] They didn't have to realign it during the Loma Prieta earthquake though although they did lose power to the accelerator during that earthquake.

Re:So... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18295602)

A bit tube?!? Soo.... are they going to hook it up to the tubes of the intarweb? ^_-

Re:So... (1)

Loudog (9867) | more than 7 years ago | (#18297434)

Well, we did have some circuit breakers fall off a shelf, too :-)

The accelerator shut down during the earthquake because the PPS (Personnel Protection System) sensors were jarred. I saw someone trip it once by backing a cart into an access door. When things get really quiet you know you've screwed up.... (are you out there Roger?)

What Bebo didn't tell you about the alignment (or you didn't mention), is that they do it when the system is up to temp -- so the tunnel is very warm (like 110 to 120 F). Not a thing I ever had to do, thank prime. But walking the tunnels during down time was amazing and spooky and damn fun. Pity you didn't get to do that.

-- Loudog
-- Ex SLAC'r

one photo is considered a tour? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18291436)

One picture is considered a tour these days?

Re:one photo is considered a tour? (1)

Thomas Hawk (796343) | more than 7 years ago | (#18291624)

It's just one photo on my blog. If you click through on the video links above you can get a tour from Robert and Bebo. All of my photos of our shoot can be seen here: http://beta.zooomr.com/smartsets/thomashawk/10374 [zooomr.com]

Second longest, straightest building (0, Offtopic)

192939495969798999 (58312) | more than 7 years ago | (#18291504)

The actual longest, straightest building is where I'm funding research into a condom that will fit me.

mod 0p (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18291750)

with any sort [sanctions,* and

Worlds straightest OBJECT? (1)

stonefry (968479) | more than 7 years ago | (#18292030)

From Wikipedia ....and is claimed to be "the world's straightest object." Are they serious? somebody get me a 3 mile long piece of thread so I can be in Guinness.

Re:Worlds straightest OBJECT? (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 7 years ago | (#18293426)

If it's three miles long, it will definitely sag. Thread does not have the tensile strength to draw that much of it straight. You might instead consider... Chuck Norris.

Re:Worlds straightest OBJECT? (1)

stonefry (968479) | more than 7 years ago | (#18294180)

Who said I was going to stretch it horizontally?

Re:Worlds straightest OBJECT? (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 7 years ago | (#18294242)

You're going to have a hard time finding a building three miles tall to protect you from the influence of wind... And probably not much more luck finding a three mile deep hole to drop it in.

Re:Worlds straightest OBJECT? (1)

stonefry (968479) | more than 7 years ago | (#18295482)

Who said I was going to stretch it vertically?

Re:Worlds straightest OBJECT? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18293948)

A 3 mile long piece of thread would suffer some serious effects and would be a problem if you were actually trying to measure anything. Hell, nylon tape measures for chaining are pretty inefficient even at paltry lenghts at 100 m. Look at the old surveyors and all the corrections that used to have to use when using metal chains, slack effects, temperature effects, etc.

Long story short, a 3 mile long piece of thread wouldn't be straight.

Re:Worlds straightest OBJECT? (1)

tenco (773732) | more than 7 years ago | (#18298840)

somebody get me a 3 mile long piece of thread
somebody get me a laser pointer.

NeXT and Amiga at SLAC (3, Interesting)

derinax (93566) | more than 7 years ago | (#18292114)

This takes me back to when I was a NeXT Campus Consultant at Stanford-- one of my duties was the maintenance and sales of NeXT hardware at SLAC. At the time, I was also an Amiga enthusiast, and was amazed to see how entrenched the Amiga was at SLAC. Mostly due to the encouragement of Willy Langeveld, some great scientific apps came out of SLAC for the Amiga: VLT, Hippograph (both Willy's), TeX (authored by Stanford alum Tom Rokicki); I'm sure there were others. I even saw an A500 out on the floor, in production.

The biggest impression I had of SLAC in the late 80's was of gigantic, warehouse-sized rooms filled with massive, unused rusted machinery. Reminiscent of the Orrery in Oblivion, or Oghma's lair from Dark Crystal. Weird and amazing place; but perhaps my memory has augmented the tour a bit.

Tom Rokicki from Texas A&M (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18293692)

http://www.instantis.com/company/management_team.h tml [instantis.com] :

Dr. Tomas Rokicki is a founder of Instantis, Inc. He brings 15 years of professional programming experience to the company. Previously, he was at Hewlett-Packard, where he was a key technical contributor to HP's E*Speak e-services initiative. Prior to that, for six years he was at Hewlett-Packard Laboratories, where his research included computer networking, distributed shared multiprocessing system architecture and modeling, and large application performance analysis. He is the principal behind Radical Eye Software, the author of dvips and many other TeX tools and implementations, and wrote the GUI for the Amiga version of Maple. He received his Ph.D. in Computer Science from Stanford University in 1993 and his B.S.E.E. from Texas A&M in 1985.

Re:NeXT and Amiga at SLAC (1)

dauwhe (562291) | more than 7 years ago | (#18294420)

Surely you don't mean to imply that Dr. Rokicki was the creator of TeX... I seem to recall some guy named "Knuth" or something...

Re:NeXT and Amiga at SLAC (1)

derinax (93566) | more than 7 years ago | (#18296744)

AmigaTeX, for its time, was arguably the finest implementation of TeX. But no, no implication meant, nor did I mean to imply that AmigaTeX's creation was tied to SLAC in any way-- its use was ubiquitous on the Amigas at SLAC, while Tom Rokicki attended to his doctorate and maintained the program while at Stanford.

Re:NeXT and Amiga at SLAC (1)

langeveld (1076711) | more than 7 years ago | (#18378871)

Yes, we had about 100 Amigas at SLAC at one time. Most of them were Amiga 500's which were used as intelligent graphical terminals to access the linear accelerator control system. The rest were scientific workstations, mostly A2000's and later A3000's for scientists. Even the director of SLAC had an Amiga. An Amiga 3000T was used as a data acquisition system, connected to CAMAC hardware, for one of the experiments.

epiJ... (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18292312)

Worst video? (5, Insightful)

Windrip (303053) | more than 7 years ago | (#18292540)

Part II is 7:44 minutes of my life I'll never get back.

I cannot believe these guys had an insider tour of SLAC and they post cheesy tourist shots of a FUCKING COOLING TOWER!!!!!!!!!!!!

No wonder Engineering/Physics &c suffers in this country.

Oh, and I also resent Bebo's comparison of chemistry to postage stamp collecting. But at least he has earned his "I'm a HEPP*" stripes.

*High Energy Physics Prick

of course HEP also means How Easily Phooled...

ART shots, you insensitive clod (1)

swschrad (312009) | more than 7 years ago | (#18294910)

the previous part has the meat in it. the photographer was dazzled by pretty colors of rot on a pipe flange here and there. we can be like that.

having spent a moderate amount of time maintaining cooling towers, in yet another previous life, it's just another pan of airborne waterous spore breeders to me....

Re:Worst video? (1)

Loudog (9867) | more than 7 years ago | (#18297462)

Dude, the cooling system in that place is more amazing then almost anything else. You should see how many pipes there are in there.

A two mile long LINAC, damping rings, beam switch yard, final focus, all klystrons, most magnet drivers, power supplies, etc... all water cooled. Friggen amazing.

The only things there more amazing is the the positron vault and the Z detector.

-- Loudog

Re:Worst video? (1)

tenco (773732) | more than 7 years ago | (#18298874)

Oh, and I also resent Bebo's comparison of chemistry to postage stamp collecting.
Uhm... why?

Re:Worst video? (1)

Curl E (226133) | more than 7 years ago | (#18369521)

Oh, and I also resent Bebo's comparison of chemistry to postage stamp collecting.

Its a quote from New Zealand physicist Ernest Rutherford [wikipedia.org] who said: "All science is either physics or stamp collecting"

Longest and Straightest? That's nothing (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18294528)

All the ladies these days know that it's the girth that counts.

dissapointing (1)

confused one (671304) | more than 7 years ago | (#18295026)

Ok,

I was expecting a tour of the accelerator. Not a tour of the visitor center and a film of someone taking pictures of eyewash stations and cooling towers.

Sad really... The interviewers hardly seemed interested in SLAC.

blah. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18296018)

this might have been interesting, but I'm disappointed. His pics are not documentary, but artsy. There are places for that, but certainly not on /. Taking macro shots of ambiguous pipes and such isn't giving me the big picture. and sorry to be such a curmudgeon, but that site zoomr sucks. I spent a couple minutes of my previously-perfectly good time and there didn't seem to be a way to easily (or at least logically) navigate through the pics in order.. are they trying to confuse me into seeing more ads?

As a casual photog, I get entirely frustrated with "sets" like these when I'm actually interested in the location.. I want to see SLAC. ..not extreme depth of field, use of available light, and screwing with color levels in photoshop. thats what flowers and abandoned buildings are for.

That being said.. the place looks pretty grim unfortunatly. I had a tour through the accelerator rings at Fermilab a few years ago, now that place is photogenic.. especially the mad scientist lab of a facility they have at the headend.

Part II was a crock (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18296392)

Loved part I of the video, but what happened to part 2? Seriously, you have a great buildup / tease in part I, and the guy starts part 2 by promising to give a tour of some really cool tech and also explain how they generate positrons in an accelerator (does anyone know the answer btw? This question has bugged me for a while). And what do they do instead? They spend 7 minutes taking pictures of a eye bath and a rusty cooling tower! Who are these idiots?!?!?!?!

My best guess is that their guide gave up in disgust sometime after the cooling tower incident and they never actually got to see inside. I know I sure would have if I'd been giving the tour.

Not for Long... (1)

Stormy Dragon (800799) | more than 7 years ago | (#18297290)

>SLAC is both the longest and straightest building in the world and is the home of three Nobel Prizes in physics. Only until the next big SF quake... After which it will have to be renamed the SPLAC (Stanford Piecewise Linear ACcelerator).

Public tours run weekly anyway (1)

throx (42621) | more than 7 years ago | (#18297754)

You can go on a tour of SLAC pretty much every week and they are pretty interesting - especially if you know something of particle physics. Had the opportunity to take one when I was out in San Jose and thoroughly enjoyed it, and would heartily recommend it to anyone else in the area. Not surprisingly, my photos probably look very similar to the ones posted here.

My Photo [chase.net.au]
Tour Times [stanford.edu]

check my tour of the CERN accelerator (1)

Charbax (678404) | more than 7 years ago | (#18299030)

I posted some videos in HD of the CERN ATLAS, which is the worlds largest physics experiment, located in Geneva, costs 8 billion dollars to build and is nearly complete: http://charbax.com/2007/02/09/a-tour-at-the-cern-l hc-atlas/ [charbax.com] http://charbax.com/2007/02/19/cern-lhc-atlas-contr ol-room/ [charbax.com] http://charbax.com/2007/02/19/cern-lhc-atlas-inter views/ [charbax.com] http://charbax.com/2007/02/20/cern-lhc-atlas-grid/ [charbax.com]

I did the SLAC Tour in 6th Grade (1970) (1)

EricTheO (973140) | more than 7 years ago | (#18301858)

I had a very progressive 6th grade teacher that was very keen on Science Education. -Eric
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