Brookhaven National Laboratory, Upton, N.Y.
Researchers from some of the dozens of labs at Brookhaven, a U.S. Department of Energy facility, will guide you through the latest developments in medical, energy, environmental and national-security research. Tours run on summer Sundays starting July 17 at the Center for Functional Nanomaterials, where scientists will demonstrate their work with electron microscopes and plasma etchers. Or check out the National Synchrotron Light Source (NSLS), used for revealing proteins and other microscopic structures, and the nearly complete NSLS-II. At 10,000 times the strength of its predecessor, the x-ray will be one of the brightest lights in the world, enabling researchers to see ever-smaller entities in great detail. In August you can enter the 2.5-mile tunnel housing the Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider to get a look at its 1,740 superconducting magnets and two condo-size collision detectors, and follow storm trackers in the National Weather Service control room.
Trip tip: Don't miss the solar-powered bio-bus mobile lab, where you can get hands-on with sophisticated microscopes on loan from Columbia University.
Info: Free; Sundays, July 17–August 14, 10 a.m.–3 p.m. (first come, first served); Brookhaven National Laboratory