FROM THE OFFICERS
The Newsletter Editor’s Message
Patrick B. Bragg
As always I would like to thank all of you who have contributed
to the newsletter this quarter.
My Dad raised me to always, “give credit where credit
is due”, to that end, I must highlight the service of two section members
for their “behind the scenes” work in ensuring the newsletter and web-site
Dr. Schwahn, a recent past
accelerator section newsletter editor, identified some deficiencies in our
section’s web-site. With no
hesitation he jumped in and corrected the deficiencies and updated a number
of areas within the website, including making it easier for people to access. If you have not been to the website
recently I encourage all of you to follow the link http://hpschapters.org/sections/accelerator/ and check it out again (for the first
time). Thank you Scott for finding
the time to continue to mentor, help, and support the newsletter editor
Steven Frey, Past President
of our section, and avid section member is well known to many of you. But I venture to guess that what many of
you don’t know is that Steve has been true blessing in helping me fulfill
my responsibilities as your editor.
Since my start in this position (4th Qtr
2014) Steve has been instrumental to the successful distribution and
posting of the newsletter to the section web-site. Due to unknown difficulties with my internet
provided I have had to rely on Steve to get the newsletter out. Thank you Steve for finding the patience
and time in ensuring the newsletter is distributed on-time and in a
Everyone please help me in congratulating Scott and
Steve for their dedication and support of our Accelerator Section.
The President’s Message
I have been surprised at how
quickly time passes. It has already been a couple of months since the
annual meeting in Indianapolis.
I write this sitting in the
welcome and first plenary session of the Accelerator Safety Workshop being
hosted at Brookhaven National Laboratory. Many of you are here as
there are 116 people registered. The most striking aspect of this
workshop is how closely accelerator health physicists are aligned with the
researchers and the operations staff. In other disciplines, the
health physics staffs are compliance officers. We are so fortunate to
be part of the team and to be recognized for the expertise we each bring to
the table. The second thing that strikes me is how close the
accelerator community is. I have seen several new faces, but most are
familiar. This time of year brings budget and labor concerns, changes
to our research missions and things like performance reviews. This
workshop is a most welcome break, giving me an opportunity to catch up on
the lessons learned across the DOE complex, get the insight on the new
regulations and standards, and get the insight on the technical advances
being made in accelerator physics and health physics. As a community,
we accomplish as much as we do by talking to and mentoring each other.
Given how busy we all are, I
do want to remind everyone to start thinking about the Mid-Year and Annual
Meetings. The Mid-Year will be in Austin and the Annual in Spokane.
This past July had a good technical program and its success was
attributable to the work that you all do. The call for papers will be
out before we know it. If you have ideas for invited talks, drop me a
note at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Linnea Wahl, has invited you to welcome others to the Accelerator Section.
I wish to expand upon that and encourage everyone to get even more
involved. Please consider running for a Board position, submitting an
article to our quarterly newsletter, sponsoring a student, or presenting a
paper. I guarantee that you would get a great return on your
I am exciting about the
upcoming year. If you have any comments or questions, pass them
along. I want to continue to grow our Section, but I need your help.
The following article appeared on the very day that
Patrick Bragg, our illustrious editor (email@example.com) sent out the
request for our 3rd quarter accelerator newsletter. I thought it interesting both from the
potential health physics aspects as well as the use of accelerators in an
effort to understand what was indeed happening with the uptake mechanisms
for heavy metals. As we are well
aware; transuranics fall into the heavy metal
category. Perhaps more than 40 +
years ago; I was involved in trying to understand resistance of pathogenic
bacteria to antibiotics. The really
pathogenic ones were able to abstract iron (crucial for growth) from dilute
sources which also helped to make them antibiotic resistant. They did this through the production of siderophores. Enter
a mammalian protein called Sidercalin. Siderocalin (Scn), lipocalin-2, NGAL, 24p3 is a mammalian lipocalin-type protein that can prevent iron
acquisition by pathogenic bacteria by binding siderophores,
which are iron-binding chelators made by microorganisms.
Iron is essential for almost all life for processes
such as respiration and DNA synthesis. Despite being one of the most
abundant elements in the Earth’s crust, the bioavailability of iron in many
environments such as the soil or sea is limited by the very low solubility
of the Fe3+ ion. This is the predominant state of iron in aqueous,
non-acidic, oxygenated environments.
actinide of special interest is Curium.
This element is made by bombarding plutonium with helium ions. It is
so radioactive it glows in the dark. Several kilograms of curium are
produced each year, and it cannot be found in nature.
curium is only available in extremely limited quantities, it has few uses.
However, it was used on a Mars mission as an alpha particle source for the
Alpha Proton X-Ray Spectrometer. Curium is a potential isotope power source
as it releases three watts of heat energy per gram. When the mammalian protein Siderocalin is mixed with Curium to form a complex; it
exhibits bright red luminescence when exposed to UV light; as shown in the
Researchers at the Lawrence Berkeley National
Laboratory in conjunction with PNASS Scientists reported a major advance in
understanding the biological chemistry of radioactive materials. The
research was led by Rebecca Abergel who worked
with the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle. Their research indicated that the
presence of the anti-bacterial protein Siderocalin,
which is normally involved in sequestering iron is
also capable of transporting plutonium; americium and other actinides into
cells. This represents a milestone
in understanding the biological chemistry of radioactive materials. The research also is the first report of
protein structures containing transuranic elements and how the presence of
the protein can sensitize the metal’s luminescence. This has interesting insights into how we
might be able to treat/reverse internalization of transuranics
and provide rapid treatment of such affected individuals. The presence of the attached protein also
provides visualization and distribution probabilities for such radioactive
materials. The team used
crystallography to characterize siderocalin‑transuranic
actinide complexes, gaining unprecedented insights into the biological
coordination of heavy radioelements. The work was performed at the Advanced
Light Source (ALS), a Department of Energy synchrotron located at Berkeley
The author are quoted thusly:
“Abergel’s group has already
developed a compound to sequester actinides and expel them from the body.
They have put it in a pill form that can be taken orally, a necessity in
the event of radiation exposure amongst a large population. Last year the
FDA approved a clinical trial to test the safety of the drug, and they are
seeking funding for the tests.
However, a basic understanding of how actinides act in
the body was still not well known. “Although [actinides] are known to
rapidly circulate and deposit into major organs such as bone, liver, or
kidney after contamination, the specific molecular mechanisms associated
with mammalian uptake of these toxic heavy elements remain largely
unexplored,” Abergel and her co-authors wrote.
The current research described in PNAS identifies a new
pathway for the intracellular delivery of the radioactive toxic metal ions,
and thus a possible new target for treatment strategies. The scientists
used cultured kidney cells to demonstrate the role of siderocalin
in facilitating the uptake of the metal ions in cells.
“We showed that this protein is capable of transporting
plutonium inside cells,” she said. “So this could help us develop other
strategies to counteract actinide exposure. Instead of binding and
expelling radionuclides from the body, we could maybe block the uptake.”
This work shows how we can use accelerators to better
elucidate how radioactive materials interact with the body. It also points a way forward towards new
treatment modalities for situations like the poisoning of Alexander
Litvinenko (shown below) in November, 2006.
As Accelerator Health Physicists; we are predominately
dedicated to achieving ALARA exposures for all our workers. We should also be mindful of stepping out
of our comfort zone to embrace new ideas; novel technologies and be well
aware of some of the great milestones that are being achieved through
research in our own facilities.
Personally; I think it would be amazing to present work that is
being conducted in and around our accelerator facilities and to focus on
some of the Health Physics challenges towards meeting those research goals
in a safe manner.
Greetings from the CAMD
Lorraine Day, PhD
The Past President’s Message
The Summer of Science
Hi friends and colleagues, and welcome to our new
Section officers in their first full quarter of service.
We are a most fortunate bunch, aren’t we? You as our
Section members are involved in cutting-edge science. Equally as important,
by your radiation safety contributions supporting accelerators in research
and medicine, we have become a dynamic instrument helping to promote science
for the benefit of all.
That reality may not always be readily apparent as we
go through our daily activities as professionals. But it is true! Thanks to
you, accelerators overall have enjoyed excellent success in avoiding
radiation accidents. The resulting confidence that these amazing
science-producing and life-saving machines can be operated in a
radiologically safe manner is well justified. Well done, all! You have much
in which to take pride.
And, what a summer we’ve had, filled with advancements
in accelerator-related science we’ve seen worldwide this season. Featuring surprises and intrigue, they
prove that particle and photon physics are alive and well, and promise continued
great opportunities for our profession. Here are some of the most
- Problematic Particles: the production of
tau particles arising from decay of b-mesons has been found to exceed
expectations. The Standard Model suggests that when b‑mesons decay,
they should produce, among other things, equal amounts of electrons, muons,
and taus. Well, apparently, they don’t! It turns
out that taus dominate. This finding suggests
that the Standard Model may need to have the physics associated with its
bottom row, which contains these leptons (see Standard Model illustration
below), modified to explain why (see Large
Hadron Collider Finds Particles That Defy The Standard Model Of Physics and 2
Accelerators Find Particles That May Break Known Laws of Physics).
- Partnered Photons: It appears that two
photons can be made to link together and form a sort of ‘metaphysical
molecule’. If so, perhaps they could be used to advance electronics and
optical devices in new and wonderful ways. First, though, the force that
holds such photon molecules together (shown as the blue bar joining the
photons in the below illustration) will need to be identified and
understood. Sounds like a perfect task for accelerators! (see NIST
Scientists show ‘molecules’ made of light may be possible).
- Fat-free Fermions: A seemingly
contradictory type of fermion first predicted in 1929 is now reported to
have been discovered. This fermion, known as a Weyl Fermion, has no mass,
unlike other fermions. Princeton scientists who recently confirmed its existence
note that Weyl Fermions can transfer electric charges a thousand times
faster than electrons. Imagine the revolution in electronics that might
result! Like for ‘Problematic Particles’ and ‘Partnered Photons” discussed above,
further characterizing Weyl Fermions sound like a perfect opportunity for
our accelerator community, too (see Big News, Physicists
have finally discovered massless particles and they could revolutionize electronics).
There’s more cool science! As dark‑matter‑particle‑candidate
research expands, a better characterizing of the neutrino background is
becoming more important to keep its influence from obscuring detection of dark
matter particles (i.e., axions, weakly‑interacting massive particles,
etc.). What better place can there
be to create a controlled neutrino background for such study than in
accelerators? (See “Hitting the Neutrino Floor” in Symmetry,
As evidenced above and with other new discoveries, seeming
contradictions to established particle and photon physics are being observed
more and more. How can this be?
One erstwhile preposterous possibility may provide the
answer: multiverses. That is, the contradictions that we observe may be due
to fleeting influences from other universes intruding into our own. It
sounds bizarre, but the possibility of multiverses is now gaining serious interest
in astrophysics and cosmology, and maybe soon for study via accelerators. Who
wouldn’t want to be involved in that research! Here’s a terrific five‑minute
narrated video from NOVA PBS
on the latest scientific thoughts about multiverses; click either on the below
link or illustration.
4 Multiverses You
Might Be Living In
Advancing humanity’s understanding of all of these
scientific developments will need accelerators, and accelerator health
physicists to help ensure safety in the process. Plus, the realm of medical
accelerators will continue to need us, too.
This Summer of Science has produced new blessings for our field.
We truly are in the most amazing days of accelerator
science and accelerator health physics.