Trip to FermiLab

FermiLab
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Trip to FermiLab

FermiLab

FermiLab

FermiLab

FermiLab

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Some students go to Florida for spring break. I took a different turn for my spring break trip this year. My older brother, William, and his wife, Annie, live in Aurora, a town on the outskirts of Chicago. Aurora holds the world famous FermiLab, where Will works.

ON March 29, I made the drive up with my sister Lili. After a halfway coffee break in Merrillville, I turned over the wheel to her, and she got us the rest of the way to Aurora. The drive, which was for the most part uneventfully, took about an hour longer than what we had initially thought. After Lili and I switched places at the helm of the vehicle, she trusted the GPS unit more than my printed map. Low and behold, my plan would have subtracted that hour off  the drive.

As we pulled into my brother’s drive, my sister-in-law ran out for a quick exchange of hugs and general greetings. After we got settled, we decided it would be fun to grab a quick bite to eat. Annie took us to a The Town Bar and Grill. As our mouths watered thinking about all the yummy food we could eat, our waitress reminded us that because of the Lenten season we might have food restrictions. As our sad ahs were let loose, the waitress told us that they have a delicious breaded cod meal. We all decided that we needed to stick to our Lenten fast and eat the cod, but oh boy was it worth it. I think that the cod was on par to any homemade meal. However, I do like fish.

After we finished eating with Annie, she drove us to my brother’s lab, and William gave us a tour of the premises; The lab that we visited and can be viewed on the fourteenth floor of the fifteen story building. Within this floor, the scientists of FermiLab have created an easy to understand concepts, that I am sure have been extremely trivialized, for the general public. Will showed us a segment of the now deactivated particle accelerator that once sat beneath the surface of the earth. The section has a slight curvature that when coupled with the several miles of other pieces would create a large circular shape.

When on the public floor, you can see the entire grounds that FermiLab owns. One can see all of the different paths that the colliders would have taken in the ground. My brother told me when the construction took place, back in the day, a walnut grove stood in the middle of one of the large collider rings. Therefore, the construction team had no reason to remove the trees. In fact, they were told not even to touch them. However, the team did remove them. The director of FermiLab at the time was so irritated that he made them give the expensive wood back. Now, the entirety of the FermiLab offices has beautiful walnut woodwork.

Accelerator segment

 

After we walked around the fourteenth-floor visitor center, William took us on a walk to a public visitor center with fun experiments to perform. One of these experiments had three different objects with varying radioactivity and a Geiger counter, the tool used to measure radiation. Another experiment explained how the physicists run atoms together and map the pathways the products, of the two atoms, take. This experiment was conducted with several pool balls and a ramp to send one ball toward the others.

As we left for the evening, Annie drove us past one of the farms that FermiLab raises Buffalo. This farm was very neat. The grounds at FermiLab are an important experiment Fermilab works on maintaining. They have been trying to revert the local ground to its prairie state. One way to do this involves letting the buffalo graze in the open field.

William explaining a science poster

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