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May 15, 2017 at 4:49 pm

Edwards Accelerator Lab Hosts ‘Discovery and Wonder’ Event

Physics graduate student Som Paneru explains how the accelerator is used.

Physics graduate student Som Paneru explains how the accelerator is used.

Nuclear physicists at Ohio University’s Edwards Accelerator Laboratory  welcomed the public to an open house event recently as part of “Obscura Day,” an annual celebration hosted by Atlas Obscura, a collaborative organization founded in 2009 and based in New York City.

The web-based atlas of destination stories, hosted events, and trips to unusual locations promotes discovering “curious places – in your neighborhood and around the world.” The atlas company publicized Obscura Day, on May 6, which included more than 170 events in 36 states and 25 countries, including at the Edwards Accelerator Lab, according to the company’s website.

Local event organizer Dr. Zach Meisel, Assistant Professor of Physics & Astronomy and member of the Institute for Nuclear and Particle Physics, said visitors were invited to take lab tours and observe science demonstrations, including simulated nuclear reactions and detection of cosmic rays with a cloud chamber.

“Participating in Obscura Day allows us to showcase the Edwards Lab to the broader community,” Meisel says. “It provided us with an opportunity to show visitors how our work at Ohio University contributes to solving societal problems and answering fundamental questions about our universe.”

Dr. Thomas Massey prepares the cloud chamber

Dr. Thomas Massey prepares the cloud chamber.

One stop on the tour included the cloud chamber, a cooled-alcohol bath that can be used to visualize radiation. A vapor forms above the alcohol bath and charged particles passing through the vapor leave behind a mist-like trail.

“The majority of the charged particles observed are muons generated in the atmosphere by cosmic rays produced from our sun and distance stellar explosions, Meisel explains. “The cloud chamber gives visitors an impression of how we can detect radiation and also underscores that radioactivity is all around us.”

Graduate student Tyler Danley and visitors stop in the control room at the accelerator.

Graduate student Tyler Danley and visitors stop in the control room at the accelerator.

Other INPP members taking part in Obscura Day were Dr. Thomas Massey and graduate students Tyler Danley, Rekam Giri, and Som Paneru.

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