Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Cornell Synchrotron Center

This is a nice, brief history of Cornell's synchrotron research lab and efforts, which has been at the forefront in not only synchrotron physics, but also the early efforts of experimental particle physics.

Still, what's wrong with this picture?

A synchrotron is a device that uses a magnetic field to accelerate particles (e.g. electrons) at faster and faster speeds by boosting their energies as they travel around the ring.

I guess they meant electromagnetic fields, since I'm sure we all know that magnetic fields can't accelerate charged particles.



Anonymous said...

This could use some clarification regarding subtleties. I certainly know what you mean, but it's also not true that a magnet can't accelerate a charge. Magnets do bend the paths of particles, which means there's an acceleration. But can it be used to pump to higher energies in the synchrotron. No, of course not.

Anonymous said...

Magnetic fields can accelerate moving charge particles. I think you meant to say that magnetic fields cannot perform work on charged particles. Unless you are defining acceleration to be time rate change of speed instead of velocity.

F = qv x B = ma

ZapperZ said...

Yes, I know, but look at the CONTEXT of the text I quoted:

"... at faster and faster speeds..."

That is self-explanatory on what the writer had in mind for what "acceleration" means.


Kanita said...

I took a day course on Synchrotrons in London, Ontario on the CLS synchrotron facility in Saskatchewan(Canada). And, I must admit- it is certainly opening new doorways for the world of physics, life sciences. I wish more highschool students were introduced to such concepts that only few physicists come across even during their undergrads.

Noone seems to know or even understand what a synchrotron is. Furthermore, once in a while a life science student will even say something to me like "Yeah, but you don't use synchrotrons for biology related purposes"

Then I sigh... Soon world, soon!