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Super magnet journey to Fermilab nearly complete

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Moving a 50-foot-wide magnet from New York to Illinois in one piece is no small task, but a local company got the project done safely, and that is just step one.

It's part of a latest project by Fermilab, a particle physics research company.

It traveled a long way to get here, at a cost of almost $3 million.

"All the way from south side of Long Island, Smith Point, down around Florida, up the Tennessee waterway, Mississippi River and the Illinois River," said project engineer Del Allspach.

This piece of scientific machinery is part of Fermilab's Muon g-2 experiment.

Getting this giant super-conducting electro-magnet here was no small task.

"What we've been able to do is take a high precision piece of equipment, unlike anything in the world, that's been sitting unused out of Brook Haven Labs on Long Island, and bring it here to Illinois to Fermilab, where we can put it to use to do some really state of the art measurements, that will help move the bounds of science forward," said State Representative Mike Fortner (49th District).

It traveled on a barge from Long Island, New York a few weeks ago before docking in Lemont Saturday afternoon.

It still has another trek to make, about 30 miles of roadway before it settles into its new home at Fermilab in Batavia. That's when the real work begins.

"This experiment is the merging of this very special device that was constructed in brook haven in the late 1990's and the Fermilab accelerator complex that's recently become available after the Tevatron closed down," said scientist Chris Polly.

All of this work, by the way, translates as a big win for the state and those looking for jobs.

"In order to support equipment like the one behind me here we're going to have to build infrastructure and we're taking about tens of millions of dollars of construction infrastructure," Fortner said. "That's going to help the economy right here in Illinois."

You can track the journey of the ring as crews drive it for three consecutive nights between Lemont and Batavia.

When the ring arrives at Wilson Hall, the public will be able to view it before it rolls to its final destination.

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