Absurdly Futuristic


I'm living in a bizarre cross between a Jetson's office and Homer Simpson's nuclear reactor.

I work in the side office off of this control room.
The edge of the big panel, looking towards the door of my office. Yes, that is a frosted-glass door.

The Israelis who work here, being culturally literate folks, actually do refer to this as the "Homer Simpson room." They find the comparison extremely funny. I have yet to ascertain the opinion of any of the system operators, who actually sit at that gigantic console, on the matter. The truly wonderful part, though, is the contrast between stuff like this, and the surrounding architecture. For instance, the curved walls, frosted glass door, and round porthole windows in my office fairly exude 50s hypermodernism. Except that I think it was built in the 70s.

One side of my office. Observe the lovely porthole window looking out on the control room.

It's true. For obscure reasons having to do with renovation schedules, Ilan and myself have been assigned to the side office of the linear accelerator's control room. For the record, I have absolutely no idea what most of the stuff in there is for, despite having worked around accelerators in the past. This is in part because a particle accelerator is one of those beasts that relies on pretty simple physics and lots of highly tricky engineering; in part because an accelerator of this scale isn't actually useful for much these days, which suggests that whatever they're doing with it is particular and specialized; and in part because a lot of the documentation appears to be in Hebrew.

A model of the accelerator building

Another odd point. This is the only linear accelerator I've ever seen that was built vertically. Space must have been at quite a premium to make it worthwhile. In this model, the ions start out up at the top of that tower, get accelerated downward, and finally a big magnet bends the beam into the basement, where the experiments live. The control room isn't pictured here, so just imagine that my office is a bit off to the left and behind of the end of the beam line.

Everyone agrees that the thing looks extremely odd, especially at night when it's lit by eerie blue floodlights. I feel like I'm working under a spaceship.

The outside of the accelerator building. The ion source is in the ellipsoidal thing on top. Brightness and contrast have been enhanced, since this is a nighttime shot.


Oh my, that's great. We need a picture of *you* sitting in there!

I think my student was satisfied by the sand vs. stars calculation. Thanks. So...did Jackson survive airport security?

Hey, who said that knowing who Homer Simpson is denotes "cultural literacy?"

you should visit the tandem lab when you get back. the control room is nearly identical, though most of the building is covered in dust....most likely radioactive dust....i should have breathed less.....too late now.
so, have you made friends with all of the particles that have come from high altitude just to visit the basement?.....before they are murdered!!!

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This page contains a single entry by Milligan published on October 8, 2004 8:09 PM.

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