Tame the Particle
Be a Beamline Scientist
Particle Accelerators and their beams are tools of discovery and innovation. These tools take small bits of matter (particles) and accelerate them at high speeds.
“Atoms are the building blocks of matter” is probably something you have heard before. You may also remember learning that atoms are made of three types of particles: neutrons, protons, and electrons. But did you know that charging and accelerating a beam of electrons or protons near the speed of light can help us answer some of society's greatest questions, like "Why did the T-rex have such small arms?" Taming these energetic particles is a delicate balance. Let’s see how well you can do it!
Scientists and engineers have learned how to use electromagnetic force fields to accelerate and focus beams of particles, and scientists continue to build their knowledge and skills in this area. At Argonne’s Advanced Photon Source (APS), scientists control electron beams moving at 99.999% the speed of light to produce some of the brightest x-rays on the planet. These x-rays are used to do all sorts of science and have numerous applications such as helping develop new vaccines or more efficient batteries. Understanding how these powerful and beneficial machines work can be difficult to understand. In this activity, you will watch a short video and create a model to explore how electromagnetic force fields interact with particles