Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Justice for RHIC

So after all of the struggles last year (remember the 65% solution?), things are certainly looking up this year. Newsday (and never the New York Times, it seems!) has a piece (and a photo of STAR, with my colleague Gene Van Buren in front!) which seems to have run twice in the last couple of days: "Proposal lets collider run a full schedule".
The relativistic heavy ion collider received $121.5 million for 32 weeks of operation in fiscal 2005, but this year had its budget cut to $110 million. After a $13 million private donation, the collider is scheduled for 20 weeks of operation this year. The proposed 2007 budget includes $138 million for a full schedule of 30 weeks of operation.
This sounds a little awkward, getting more money for less running, but people should realize that we have massive R&D needs, and major upgrades are underway, both for the big detectors (STAR and PHENIX) and for the accelerator (Uranium, anyone?)

But while I appreciate Newsday's interest quite a bit, I wish they would just stop saying this:
The collider is a superconductor that accelerates ions to nearly the speed of light, allowing scientists to explore the smallest known pieces of matter
It's an accelerator, not a superconductor! Yes, there are superconducting magnets everywhere, but ultimately the particles are accelerated in vacuum and just guided by the magnets. Yes it sounds niggly, but I don't think our material science friends would appreciate the confusion either.

1 comment:

j said...

This is an awesome photo, Peter! When do I get to visit Brookhaven? :)