Red wine can efficiently turn iron compounds into superconductors, a finding Japanese researchers stumbled upon at a boozy party last year. Now they have figured out how. Tartaric acid in the wine — especially in a French Beaujolais, from the gamay grape — seems to be the culprit.
In particle physics, as in so many other parts of life, there are few things more useful than a trusty roll of tape.
Just before Labor Day, physicists working with Fermilab's Tevatron wrapped up a planned four-week accelerator shutdown and were looking forward to getting back to work. But pressure started building in the Tevatron's vacuum system, and experiments were halted while engineers isolated the problem. They found a faulty O-ring, which seals the vacuum between two superconducting magnets, according to an account on Fermilab Today.
By Carina StorrsPosted 10.28.2009 at 1:30 pm 25 Comments
Before scientists can put the Large Hadron Collider back to work this month solving the mysteries of particle physics, the LHC's engineers face critical repairs to the $5-billion device. First up: Fix the 53 superconducting magnets trashed in September 2008 when a power cable broke, causing the magnets to warm above their –458˚F operating temperature and lose conductivity, or "quench." Then pipes for helium coolant melted, further damaging the magnets.
Physicists are praying that their 4-mile-long machine will detect a tiny bit of matter so elusive that some consider it practically divine.
By Michael MoyerPosted 12.13.2001 at 1:29 pm 2 Comments
Buried beneath the plains of Illinois is a monster of a machine designed to mince matter into its most fundamental parts. It's called a particle accelerator, and it relies on 1,000 giant superconducting magnets, 700 scientists and engineers, and more than $10 million in annual electricity bills to keep on running 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.