Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Science

The Recycling of the Tevatron 71

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the captain-planet-approved dept.
ananyo writes with an excerpt from an article in Nature about the decomissioning of the Tevatron: "It is a 4,000-tonne edifice that stands three stories high, chock full of particle detectors, power supplies, electronics and photomultiplier tubes, all layered like a giant onion around a cylindrical magnet. During 26 years of operation at the Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory in Batavia, Illinois, this behemoth, the Collider Detector at Fermilab (CDF), helped to find the top quark and chased the Higgs boson. But since the lab's flagship particle collider, the Tevatron, was switched off in September 2011, the detector has been surplus stock — and it is now slowly being cannibalized for parts." Currently other projects are taking small bits and pieces of the Tevatron, but another Fermilab project, ORKA, wants to gut the collider to study kaon decay.
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

The Recycling of the Tevatron

Comments Filter:
  • by TankSpanker04 (1266400) on Wednesday February 22, 2012 @12:37PM (#39126085)

    Put it on eBay: "Create your own black hole!" Starting bid: $1 (no reserve)

  • I'm confused why this is news. Can I buy the parts or something? What does it matter if they're selling the parts.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by ananyo (2519492)

      I'm confused why this is news. Can I buy the parts or something? What does it matter if they're selling the parts.

      Woah! So it's not news or interesting unless you are *directly* affected? Generation Me [wikipedia.org] or what, dude? They're taking apart one of your nation's national treasures. Bits of it are being recommissioned because your physicists are broke. It's OK, you're right. Let's leave this "peer into the fabric of the universe and wonder at its awesomeness" stuff up to the Europeans. They'll have the Higgs by the end of the year anyway.

      • I would say the two primary criteria for 'what is news' are, "Will it affect me?" or "Is it something I can and should do something about?" Not necessarily directly - e.g. voting isn't generally a direct effect. If the story doesn't include one of these, then it's really not news, it's gossip or titillation.

        Unfortunately nearly all 'news' these days is sex, car crashes or celebrity gossip - pandering to the biological drives.

        On a related note, I finally understood the attraction of the gossip rags at the

        • by ananyo (2519492)
          Well this piece isn't about sex, car crashes or celeb gossip - so I guess it's news. Seriously folks - this is a piece relating to a huge piece of scientific equipment that won scientists a few Nobels.It ties in that to the current financial situation in science. It also reports that the plan to display this to the public may be shelved (if the proposal to gut it entirely is accepted). Important stuff for scientists and those who are interested in the climate for basic science in the US. This isn't news? If
        • Do you have a cite for that study? It sounds interesting. I could only find a passing reference to the study here [thedailybeast.com]. I also learned that Googling Monkey Juice Economics [google.com] is not particularly safe for work...
          • Sorry, it was a while back and I don't recall the particulars. But it appears that you're on the right track.

      • Yea, cause Europe totally doesnt have financial difficulties. Portugal, Ireland, Greece, Italy, all doing wonderful.

        Something about "glass houses" and "throwing stones"...?

        • by mug funky (910186)

          yes, but their collective situation and yet their continuing commitment to science makes this even more telling for the Americans, no?

          • Ireland is fine - we have been stockpiling potatoes for years, we plan to not give them to English people when their economy dives....
  • Sounds like a great set for filming some sci fi - like they used to make movies when tearing down amusement parks and blowing up the roller coaster.

  • by JoshuaZ (1134087) on Wednesday February 22, 2012 @12:45PM (#39126229) Homepage

    The lack of funding for the Tevatron is deeply unfortunate. It almost certainly could still have been used for good research. Between this and the earlier cancellation of the SSC, the US seems to be doing its hardest to make sure that it isn't first in particle physics research. We're still doing a lot of good research at Fermilab. For example, MINOS is working on testing the recent FTL neutrino claim (and in fact, the OPERA group was paying careful attention to arrival times primarily because MINOS had previously discovered an anomaly which tentatively suggested that some neutrinos might be traveling faster than light). And the US is still doing very good physics in other areas, especially in solid state physics and plasma physics. But this a really bad trend. It fits into the same pattern as the recent budget cuts to Mars exploration, while we still have billions of dollars pumping into military boondoggles.

    I'm happy that they can at least reuse the Tevatron, and kaon decay which is important for understanding CP violation http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/CP_violation [wikipedia.org] which may have implications for why there's apparently so much more matter than antimatter in the universe. But it really shouldn't be coming to this. Physicists shouldn't be desperately scrambling for parts while the cost of what they need is less than a new fighter squadron.

    • by elrous0 (869638) *

      the US seems to be doing its hardest to make sure that it isn't first in particle physics research.

      In all fairness, we're also abandoning a lot of other areas of scientific research too.

      Wanna buy a space shuttle? We can cut you a deal.

    • by geniice (1336589)

      Science has pretty much always involved scrambling for parts not least because a lot of stuff needed is a one off. Jodrell Bank Observatory for example was built with a lot of former military kit including bits of battleship turret. Scavenging stuff from previous experiments is a pretty standard skill across the sciences.

    • by Gothmolly (148874)

      Remember that culturally, the US no longer wants to be a special, leading country. The current administration has stated it, and is taking steps to ensure it.

      • Re: (Score:2, Offtopic)

        by mug funky (910186)

        wow, turning it into GOP v Democrats, are we?

        it really can be worked into any discussion, can't it?

        • by Tassach (137772)

          The fact that the GOP maintains a platform which is explicitly anti-science is relevant to any discussion about science, particularly any research which is publicly funded and doesn't directly benefit large corporations.

    • It's hard to get funding when you're not a) blowing stuff up or b) concerned that others are trying to blow your stuff up. Sad.

    • by jonwil (467024)

      If the US government took the money they are spending on unnecessary and unneeded military projects like the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter and on maintaining expensive-to-run military bases in places like Okinawa and spent it on things that benefit mankind instead, the world would be a far better place.

    • by Hatta (162192)

      How do we know there's more matter than anti-matter? It's obvious that there's more matter than anti-matter near us, but how do we know we're not just an island of matter in a sea of anti-matter?

      • by JoshuaZ (1134087)
        Galactic collisions aren't that uncommon, and if there were any examples of anti-matter galaxies running into matter galaxies we'd be able to detect it. Moreover, if the exact same amount of anti-matter and matter was produced in the early universe, the most plausible models don't suggest big clumping of matter and anti-matter, they suggest that almost everything would just cancel out and return to energy. We don't see that.
    • Well that depends using "a new fighter squadron" as a metric of measurement...

      Lets see to convert, apparently there are 16 fighters in a US fighter squadron. "New", would have to refer to the new F35 fighter jets being built, the cheapest of which is estimated to cost about 122$ million dollars.

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lockheed_Martin_F-35_Lightning_II [wikipedia.org]

      So some rough calculations mean those poor scientists only need 1952 Million dollars, or in general terms about 2 Billion! :)

  • by peter303 (12292) on Wednesday February 22, 2012 @12:51PM (#39126321)
    The US will be down to one active cyclotron-collider by the end of this year and not world class anymore. Some of the older accelerators have been recycled: Stanford Linear Accelerator where two of the quark mesons were discovered is now one of the worlds most powerful xray sources. This can see molecular size objects or time slices faster than a chemical reaction.

    the US space program can no longer launch astronauts into orbit. Earliest will be next decade. Space probes have been cut to the two in development with nothing beyond that funded.
  • by PolygamousRanchKid (1290638) on Wednesday February 22, 2012 @01:03PM (#39126495)

    They always say, "Maybe I'll need it someday . . . ", or "I might be able to scavenge some parts . . ."

    And the stuff just sits around forever . . . right next to my Token Ring network card, tangled up in cables with wacky connectors . . .

    They just can't part with the Tevatron . . . this recycling line is just an excuse to keep it around.

    • by Anonymous Coward
      "I may one day need that in the post-apocalypse to MacGuyver together a robot to fend off zombie-velociraptors."

      That's what really goes through our minds when trying to toss out old technology.
    • by Phroon (820247)

      They just can't part with the Tevatron . . . this recycling line is just an excuse to keep it around.

      Assuming you would want to, it is non-trivial to just dispose of 4 miles of superconducting magnets.

      Anyways, the part of the Tevatron that you are most likely to find reuse is the 4 miles of tunnel. The civil construction to dig a tunnel that big, complete with tunnel penetrations and service buildings is a significant portion of the cost of any project. You would be a fool to just fill in such a valu

      • by Chris Burke (6130)

        Anyways, the part of the Tevatron that you are most likely to find reuse is the 4 miles of tunnel. The civil construction to dig a tunnel that big, complete with tunnel penetrations and service buildings is a significant portion of the cost of any project. You would be a fool to just fill in such a valuable commodity just because you don't have a use of it today.

        What uses are there for 4 miles of tunnel that's in some random location not in an urban center? Not much. Just like there's not much use for the 14 mi of tunnel dug for the SSC, which lies unused in Texas.

        It would be foolish to fill it in, that's true. Which is why they won't. They'll just leave the tunnel there. Maybe in the future someone will use it to build a new colllider (the LHC used pre-existing tunnels from a previous collider, but other than that...

  • TOURS! (Score:3, Interesting)

    by sgauss (639539) on Wednesday February 22, 2012 @01:55PM (#39127241)
    I used to bike around the grounds of FNAL; I'd love to see them open up the tunnels and see a little of the other side!
  • by Sporkinum (655143) on Wednesday February 22, 2012 @02:09PM (#39127455)

    Since it's in a rural area, I bet if the word got out, the meth heads would be all over it to steal the copper. It would end up looking like one of those old abandoned military sites in Russia.

    • by tscheez (71929)

      Yeah, cause meth heads won't get stopped by the 24hr security guards at each entrance or stopped by security near the restricted access roads. It's not abandoned, just off.

      They do have buffalo on the grounds that you can go see, but they warn you at the gate that you can't just go anywhere.

    • by LanMan04 (790429)

      Since it's in a rural area, I bet if the word got out, the meth heads would be all over it to steal the copper. It would end up looking like one of those old abandoned military sites in Russia.

      Rural? It's in the middle (well, western side) of the Chicago burbs! Within a mile or so of the ring it's farmland, but beyond that you're in a very heavily populated area. This is not on the outskirts of Pontiac, IL or something.

      http://g.co/maps/kw2x9 [g.co]

Pause for storage relocation.

Working...