By Adam Edwards
Itís a sunny California afternoon and Iím giving a tour of our
beautiful site. General public tours are usually the most exciting to do;
I like the random mix of peopleóand questionsóthat I encounter on these
Adam Edwards (BABAR)
enjoys guiding tours. (Photo by Diana
"So, what would happen if, say, I put my hand in the beam?" a visitor
"Youíd probably get a nice hole in it. But that would never happen
here. Itís very important that the beams donít collide with anything but
themselves; thatís why all the air is removed from the beam pipe."
There are those who wonder, "Why isnít anybody ever working wherever we
go?" Others are curious about how things work: "Thanks, Iíve always
Many bring their own stories to share: "I was reading my paper this
morning after breakfast and I was remembering reading in the paper years
ago about this place opening. What year was that?"
Each tour has its own flavor, but inevitably eyes light up as the tour
progresses and I tell each group about the work we do.
"Is that the accelerator there?" queries another curious visitor.
"Well, thatís part of it. The actual beam is about 25 feet below
ground. But to power the beam we use 240 klystrons. See the machines over
there with the red cylinders? They are lined up above the beam in this two
mile long shed which is, in fact, the longest building in the world. Itís
about 10 feet longer than Hong Kongís airport terminal!"
Fascinating facts are good to know, but even better to share. Both the
guides and the guided can enjoy the Ďgee-wizí aspect of it all.
The Public Affairs Office (PAO) runs tours of SLAC most days. The
general tour gives guests an introduction to the Lab and then we usually
take them from the Visitor Center to the Klystron Gallery, through the
research yard and to the SLD detector.
Anyone can guide tours and itís always a fun experience! Iím a graduate
student working with the BABAR
collaboration, but Iíve found that people from all corners of SLAC give
tours. Each of us gives our own spin and highlights our own interests.
Itís like giving a tour of our home and everyone just loves what we did
with the rooms.
At the end of the tour, guests always say ĎThank Youí. I feel good
knowing that Iíve been able to share the marvels of science and may even
inspire a new young scientist.
To learn about becoming a SLAC Tour Guideóor to host your own group of
visitorsócontact Emily Ball (PAO) in advance (Ext. 2620,