Tuesday, October 25, 2016

From 1974: Stanford Scientist Drives His Alfa Spider Through Particle Accelerator

As featured here last week, I've recently been watching a lot of BBC science documentaries, particularly those hosted by Professor Jim Al-Khalili.

This clip from a 1974 episode of Horizon (American readers: think PBS Nova, similarly excellent and long-running) shows a brand-new Alfa spider being driven from one end of Stanford's Linear Particle Accelerator to the other, 2.0 miles away.

Housed in the longest building in the US, Stanford claims it's also "the world's straightest object." Continuously operating since opening in 1966, the accelerator passes underneath I280 as can be seen about halfway through the clip.

Says the narrator: "Even for an experimenter driving a fast car, it's a long ride, yet the electrons that fly along the accelerator do the journey in 100,000th of a second."

Bonus cool points for the soundtrack--Pink Floyd's "One of These Days" from the album Meddle, one of their spaciest.

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