The Abingdon Blog

The Abingdon Blog is a photo record of events and places in Abingdon, Oxfordshire, started on January 1st 2006.

Sunday, 15 July 2007

Diamond Light Source - Open Day


At Harwell ( a few miles south of Abingdon) there was an Open Day at the doughnut shaped building called the Diamond Light Source.

It is what is known as a synchrotron, a series of super microscopes using a incredibly bright and intense light. It is the biggest civilian scientific project in the UK for thirty years. The first seven super microscopes in the synchrotron have been working since earlier this year and many more will follow. They all take light from the central core.

The tour involved film shows, displays and experiments.

In the inner area we saw a series of electro-magnets - used to accelerate electrons, and then on the outside the shiny precision equipment that beams the generated synchrotron light ( x-ray, ultra-violet or infrared) at whatever is to be studied.

This display of textile art shows microscopic forms like viruses and pollen done with needles and thread, rather than super-microscopes. The synchrotron technology itself is kept simple at times. They use pin hole photography techniques to ensure the beam of light is in line.

Anyway, having learnt something, we emerged from the doughnut with bags full of information sheets and free gifts. The lucky ones even had yellow hats.

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