ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

MSU's FRIB: The Subatomic World Explored

Updated on July 5, 2019
Leucippe, pre--Socratic philosopher and pioneer in rational atomic thought
Leucippe, pre--Socratic philosopher and pioneer in rational atomic thought | Source
Democritus, pupil of Leucippe and another early contributor to atomic theory
Democritus, pupil of Leucippe and another early contributor to atomic theory | Source
John Dalton, an important link between ancient theory and modern scientific methods
John Dalton, an important link between ancient theory and modern scientific methods | Source
Enrico Fermi, an outstanding leader in 20th Century accelerator physics
Enrico Fermi, an outstanding leader in 20th Century accelerator physics | Source
Nobel laureate Ernest Lawrence, inventor of the Cyclotron, with an early model of the machine
Nobel laureate Ernest Lawrence, inventor of the Cyclotron, with an early model of the machine | Source
A typical cyclotron of our time
A typical cyclotron of our time | Source
Medical isotope cyclotron, used in nuclear medicine
Medical isotope cyclotron, used in nuclear medicine | Source
LCLS-II accelerator cavity, typical of the sophisticated equipment employed in today's cyclotrons
LCLS-II accelerator cavity, typical of the sophisticated equipment employed in today's cyclotrons | Source
An isotope activity diagram
An isotope activity diagram | Source
MSU Cyclotron, precursor to FRIB
MSU Cyclotron, precursor to FRIB | Source
MSU'S FRIB project nearing completion.  When activated, it will be a local contribution to the advancement of global science.  Out of this maze of complex machinery some fundamental questions of physics will be answered
MSU'S FRIB project nearing completion. When activated, it will be a local contribution to the advancement of global science. Out of this maze of complex machinery some fundamental questions of physics will be answered | Source

A Bold New Facility For Tomorrow's World

The Michigan State University Facility for Rare Isotope Beams (FRIB) will be, upon completion, one of a handful of similar research installations around the world concerned with the exploration and management of isotopic beams in advanced research. The culmination of many years of exhaustive planning and fund raising, it will help to further the understanding of humankind into the mysterious--and unimaginably small--world of gluons, leptons, mesons, quarks and neutrinos only identified and imagined in most recent times. Beyond the purely theoretical study of isotopes, there are practical applications to nuclear and materials science. It will certainly help place MSU on the map of this research and will also help boost the Lansing area as a center for cutting edge thinking and exploration in both pure and applied physics.

A Brief History of Atomic Thought and Research

The genesis of thought about atoms must be traced to the ancient Greeks, who were probably the first to give attention to the nature of matter. Such philosophers and protoscientist pioneers as Democritus and Leucippus seriously believed that there was one tiny, indivisible particle of matter to which all could be reduced. The train of thought was largely interrupted by the Roman Empire and the Middle Ages, where scientific research languished for a millennium and a half. The English chemist John Dalton helped to revive the Greek theories in the 1700's, but it really took until the 1800's to get the momentum back. By the early 1900's such giants as Ernest Rutherford and later Enrico Fermi had developed the basic architecture of the still mysterious atom, breaking it down into the nucleus, the positively charged proton, the negatively charged electron and the neutral neutron. After a time, there emerged evidence that there was still further reduction available, which led to the discovery of what might be called the sub-subatomic world, and that stretched the imagination of even the most seasoned physicists. At about this time, epic scale equipment became available, which introduced such phrases as "cloud chambers" and "atom smashing" to the popular vocabulary. Ernest Lawrence invented the Cyclotron during this period. Such large installations as the Fermi National Accelerator Lab in Illinois could generate and propel atoms like race cars around a vast circumferential ring measuring miles in distance, resembling the Indianapolis 500 let loose in a physics lab! The CERN project near Geneva was another example of this enlarged capacity. This, in turn, bred a new form of science, accelerator physics.

The MSU Cyclotron as a Precursor of FRIB

The MSU Cyclotron can be thought of as a preliminary facility paving the way for FRIB. It is the site of very advanced technology such as low energy neutron detectors. It is also the setting for upper level seminars and symposia on subatomic physics and meeting minutes are regularly shared with scientists around the world. Such research capacity naturally helped to gain a reputation for MSU as a venue for leading edge knowledge in this highly esoteric field.

Enter FRIB

The decision to go ahead with the FRIB project came after several years of careful thought. Slowly, a consensus for action emerged and even spread to political circles. Both current Senator Debbie Stabenow and former Senator Carl Levin backed the project, and proved their support through their voting in Washington. Certainly, the cost of FRIB will be no minor matter, with the estimated price tag currently estimated at approximately $730 million, assuming no serious cost overruns. The State of Michigan, Michigan State University and the U.S. Department of Energy will contribute toward the cost. Such a large capital expenditure must be justified, for example, by a cost-benefit analysis. On the applied physics side, FRIB will yield new benefits in nuclear medicine and will contribute to the American space program, when this country finally gets back into space--on hiatus since the winding down of the shuttle program in 2011. But perhaps more important than any short term practical benefit is the pursuit of pure knowledge, recalling the words of George Mallory when asked why he wanted to climb Mount Everest: "because it is there." If it is true that man is no longer the measure of all things--as he saw himself in the Renaissance--at least he has touched the face of the infinite and has held in his fragile hands a quantum of knowledge and power that define him as a special being. Completion is tentatively scheduled for June 2022.

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No comments yet.

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://corp.maven.io/privacy-policy

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
    ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)