Accelerators are unique. Someone once told me
that when I was a relatively new accelerator health physicist. As I have
reflected upon that comment, I realize just how unique each accelerator
is. The ones that I currently work with are much smaller and pulsed,
firing just a couple of times per day. The ones I used to work with were
miles in circumference and ran continuously. Shielding is
different. Occupancy is different. Radiological hazards are
different. Industrial hazards are different. The list can go
Interestingly, I find comfort in those differences and
have come to realize that there are many similarities. A majority of
accelerator produced radionuclides are positron emitters. The beam
scatter is usually a greater problem. Volumetric contamination is to
be expected. Contamination is generally predictable – dust, rust,
residue. Personnel protection is our utmost priority, but the machine
is a close second.
During a recent teleconference of many within the DOE
Accelerator Community, a speaker noted that we have to share our
experiences to learn. Our creativity is sparked by the ideas and
application of theory belonging to others. In this recent
teleconference, one of the facilities discussed a problem they encountered
with the administration of part of their interlock system/program. Our
program here is vastly different, but after wading through the details of
the incident, I realized I had something to learn from this incident and
reviewed our interlock program from this perspective.
With that in mind, I really would like to encourage
those of you with one of those ideas or an alternate interpretation to
present these at the upcoming HPS Annual Meeting. My current manager
often reminds me that the work that we do is worth discussing with our
colleagues. We don’t usually take the time because in our minds, we
are just getting the job done. No one is interested in that. However,
I just sat in on a presentation utilizing room ventilation as a method for
downposting. As I think about that, that was a technique that I
learned about decades ago. Last year, we were reminded of
monoenergetic electrons and their effect on our instrumentation.
The Accelerator Section has committed to hosting a
special session at the HPS Annual Meeting. Unfortunately, the
submission date snuck up on most of us and passed us by. Since it is
a Special Session, the Accelerator Section has direct control over the
presentations. We have included a presentation on the
application of the new accelerator clearance standard and Dr. Rokni has
been invited to be one of the Plenary Session speakers. We will have
our outstanding student presentations. We can still add
presentations. Please talk to Lorraine Day or contact me with any
ideas that you might have.
BTW – Steve Frey has made great progress in scheduling
a night under the stars for the Accelerator Section. Look for
it in the preliminary program. He was telling me that there are a lot
of similarities between accelerators and those beacons in the night.
Lorraine Day (lightly added to
by Steve Frey)
Is the Accelerator Section meeting your needs?
Times are a changing and as a consequence so must we.
The rapid confluence of scientific discovery and technological
breakthroughs makes it more and more difficult to be on the cutting edge.
Why am I beginning this article with such a sentence? It’s because that
for our Section’s usual Special Session for the upcoming annual meeting in
Spokane, fewer presentation papers than normal were submitted.
Now, we certainly will have the Special Session, and
will make it interesting as always. It’s our duty to you, our Section
members, to make our Special Sessions fun and informative, and that we will
Another of the very good things that our Section does
is supporting deserving students, being the only HPS section to give
society‑wide recognition through our prestigious modes of recognition
awards: The H. Wade Patterson Award and the Lutz Moritz Award. With respect
to this endeavor, we need judges for this annual event in Spokane. If you
are willing to help in the pre-judging process where we cull every student
abstract for this event, please let me know.
However, it too may be a good time to think of our
mission on a larger scale, and re-evaluate our section mission and goals.
This is a healthy process that all professional societies occasionally go
through, and maybe we should, too.
First big challenge to think about: We are aware that
our national laboratory members are constrained to only one meeting per
year. Why is that conference not the HPS – and more specifically the
Accelerator Section? What should we be doing to help more of you choose our
This is our way of saying that the Accelerator Section
Board needs your help. We must improve our modus operandi; to meet
the critical needs of our membership. Therefore; I am requesting input,
from you, our members. We need your suggestions; comments; recommendations
and thoughts on how we can revitalize or “stem the tide”. Each of you has
a voice. Now is the time to use it. PLEASE send your confidential
comments to me at email@example.com. I plan to collate
these comments and present them at both our board meeting and hopefully
also during our Annual Business Meeting immediately following our short
Special Session on Tuesday, July 19, 2016.
Again, please let me know your willingness to
participate in the student abstracts.
I look forward to your comments and suggestions. Please
help us serve you in every best way.
Past President’s Message
Hello friends, as Spring approaches, it’s a good time
to begin thinking about the upcoming annual HPS Meeting in Spokane. Thanks
to our current Section officers, we are well-positioned to producing a
top-level Special Session there for you to enjoy. Please come!
As a reward for your membership in our Section, we’re
going to have a star party there for your enjoyment as well! It will be a
modest affair that will be held within easy walking distance from the
Spokane Convention Center and the Davenport Grand Hotel, and will follow
immediately after the Awards Banquet on Tuesday night, July 19, 2016, from
9 PM to 10:30 PM. Please plan to stop by and enjoy the wonders of the
nighttime sky with us. After all, stars are particle accelerators, too!
And more wild things are happening in the world of
physics. Let’s have a look:
Gravitational Waves: First and biggest of all is the recent,
spectacular detection of gravitational waves by the Laser Interferometer
Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO). Equally as impressive, the involved
researchers were able to quantitate these waves, which originated from a collision
of two huge black holes in a faraway corner of the Universe 1.3 billion
This fantastic finding
promises to have strong benefits for accelerator sciences, which we will
explore further below.
Here’s a good video
clip that tells how it was done: Brian Greene
Explains The Discovery Of Gravitational Waves.
And here’s a visual
simulation of the collision producing an intense gravitational wave (with a
screen-capture from it below): https://youtu.be/I_88S8DWbcU
The researchers’ computer
modelling of black hole collisions, when applied to the data (see LIGO Hanford
and Livingston sites’ data graphs below; how’s that for a data
match!), indicated that a 29-solar-mass black hole and a 36-solar-mass black
hole merged. At the instant of collision, they converted 3 solar masses’
worth of material into gravitational waves. The power output of those waves
was 50 times that of the entire visible universe! LIGO confirmed that gravitational
waves are not only real, they can be substantial, too. Pretty impressive
What does such a
discovery mean for accelerator sciences? It confirms that Albert Einstein
was even more correct about General Relativity than ever. Consequently, this
latest validation of General Relativity suggests that accelerators can help
advance particle physics with even greater confidence from better
understanding and control over experimental influences due to gravity at
the quark and sub-quark level.
Best of all, the
LIGO success now opens a search pathway for accelerators to be the leading tool
of choice to help find gravitons.
Gravitons are thought to be tiniest particles in existence, being only a Planck-Length
in magnitude (i.e., 1E-35 meters). These closed-string, 2-spin
massless particles are thought to couple with the density and flux of
energy and momentum in spacetime to produce the force-like entity
known as gravity. If gravitons are discovered, they will meld Quantum
Mechanics with General
Relativity and validate the long-sought Grand
Unification Theory (a/k/a "The
Theory of Everything"),
which is the holy grail of particle physics, astrophysics, and cosmology.
And we accelerator
health physicists will be there to help. We do live in exciting times!
Quantum Entanglement. In what appears to be a coincidental
dovetailing on LIGO beam-splitting technology, an experimental test for
quantum entanglement has been devised. Quantum entanglement, or “spooky
action at a distance” as Einstein described it, was proposed (facetiously)
by Einstein to explain how a change in one particle could cause a
complementary change to another particle to which it is linked faster than
the speed of light. Einstein did not believe it to be possible. But recent
laboratory efforts show it could be true. This new experiment will attempt
to prove quantum entanglement visually, via beam‑splitters (much
like LIGO uses to detect gravitational waves). Here’s a diagram from the
experiment that shows how it will be designed:
If successful, the world
of photon and particle physics will be absolutely rocked! Here’s the technical
paper on the experiment: What does it take to
see entanglement? It could also open up a whole new realm for
accelerators to explore.
Time tells tantalizing truths? Great breakthroughs in science can
come from novel application of an existing technology to make great new
discoveries. A current example is proposed to be carried out at the
University of Reno to detect dark matter via careful analysis of ultra-minute
variations in atomic clocks. Here’s the link to the related article: Atomic clocks and
It‘s possible that nothing
may come of it. But what an elegant concept in principle it is, and illustrates
the power of creative thinking in making the most of tools at hand. So,
stoke those synapses! The next awesome advancement in science could come