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Public Tours At FRIB Saturday

Thomas Glasmacher FRIB photo
Scott Pohl
FRIB Laboratory Director Thomas Glasmacher discusses Saturday's open house in the the FRIB reaccelerator beam experimental area.

The $730-million dollar Facility for Rare Isotope Beams, or FRIB, under construction at Michigan State University will be open to the public on Saturday.

FRIB will be the only facility of its kind in the world when completed. Its superconducting linear accelerator will propel heavy ions at great speeds, producing rare isotopes by in-beam fragmentation. Researchers will be looking for answers to questions about where atoms come from and how the nuclei of atoms are held together.

FRIB Laboratory Director Thomas Glasmacher says “the beam eventually will move at half of the speed of light.”

At the time of an open house in 2016, the tunnel was finished, but it was empty. Now, Glasmacher says the first part of the accelerator has been built, and it works. “All the main pieces of the accelerator have been demonstrated individually and collectively working together," he explains, "so the big difference is you’ll see the first part of the accelerator.”

Approved by the U.S. Department of Energy in 2008, civil construction started in 2014. Early completion is expected in 2021.

The first tour on Saturday starts at 11 a.m. and the last will begin at 4 p.m. All ages are welcome, and it's free.

Scott Pohl is a general assignment news reporter and produces news features and interviews. He is also an alternate local host on NPR's "Morning Edition."
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