Friday, March 18, 2011

High Energy Physics Experiments in Japan

Ah, it is with great relief that we get good news like this for a change out of the disaster in Japan. It appears that many of the major high energy/particle physics facilities in Japan survived relatively unscathed.

During an earthquake, tsunami, or nuclear meltdown, the safest place to be is in a mine.

So says Stuart Freedman, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory's spokesperson for the KamLAND neutrino experiment, whose 1879 glass photomultiplier tubes emerged from the earthquake unscathed. Both KamLAND and the Super-Kamiokande experiment, which contains 11,146 glass bulbs each 20 inches in diameter, are ensconced 3300 ft underground in the Mozumi mine. This is to protect both American-Japanese collaboration experiments from solar radiation that would obscure their data.

Unfortunately, it appears that the KEK-Tsukuba facility may have suffered extensive damage. The article further reported on J-PARC facility that survived the earthquake and the tsunami.


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