Backstage at the Diamond Light Source

By Grant Jacobs 13/02/2011

Backstage Science are going behind several of the more prominent of England’s research facilities, giving an informal glimpse of what’s going on in there. It’s a nice concept, to try show what’s inside some of the larger facilities that most people would never get to see.

synchrotron-wikipediaIn the second video they have produced in the series thus far they visit The Diamond Light Source, the UK’s national synchrotron facility.

Simplistically put, synchrotrons accelerate particles to very high speeds to create very powerful beams at a chosen wavelength of ‘light’.

One use of synchrotrons are to work out the structure of a protein, but for now it’s enough to look at the machine itself. They’re pretty impressive!

The second video gives a (very) simple explanation of how synchrotrons work and what they’re used for. The synchrotron in that video is in the USA, the Brookhaven synchrotron at Long Island.

The nearest (large) synchrotron for New Zealanders is near Melbourne, Australia. Probably the best known synchrotron–and largest–is Large Hadron Collider (LHC), in an underground tunnel below the French-Swiss border near Geneva. (It’s the one featured in the movie Angels and Demons.)

Enjoy the videos. Weekends are good for that!

(Excuse the brevity of my recent posts – real life [read: work!] is interrupting again! There are some excellent videos of the LHC on YouTube if you have a little time to explore.)

Other articles at Code for Life:

When Galaxies Collide… and directors quote-mine

Aww, crap

Understanding the brain through controlling it

Book review – The Poisoner’s Handbook

Capturing bodies – medical imaging data