MIDDLETON, MA--Congressman Peter Torkildsen will visit the MIT Bates Linear Accelerator in Middleton at 10 a.m. Tuesday to receive the thanks of the employees whose high-tech jobs he saved last June.
"We want to thank him in person," said Professor Stanley Kowalski, director of the center, for saving the 122 jobs at the Department of Energy federal scientific laboratory operated by MIT. The employees, who work three shifts at the facility, were shocked June 8 when an appropriation bill voted by the House Science Subcommittee on Energy and Environment specified that the accelerators at MIT, Yale, Duke/University of North Carolina, University of Washington, and Texas A&M all would have their funding cut off Oct. 1.
Torkildsen intervened with the members of the House Science Committee and won restoration of the funds, including $18 million for Bates. The Bates center, in which the U.S. has invested $95 million over the past quarter of a century, serves 250 scientists and 50 graduate students from universities across the nation.
The scientists at Bates measure the detailed shape and composition of atomic nuclei and the forces that hold them together or break them up. To look at the structure of nuclei one-trillionth the size of a pinhead requires a very large "microscope." The One Hundred Inch Proton Spectrometer (OHIPS), 32 feet tall and weighing 250 tons, dominates the South Hall at Bates, an 80' by 120' room that is 48 feet tall. It is one of three giant spectrometers which allow scientists to see the structure of the nuclei, revealed by the beam of electrons accelerated by the linear accelerator to one billion electron volt s (99.999% of the speed of light).
The Department of Energy/National Science Foundation Nuclear Science Advisory Committee said in a May, 1994 report, "The Bates Linear Accelerator Center at MIT ... has set the standard for high resolution" measurements of particle energy.
Director Kowalski, a professor of physics, said "The Bates Accelerator is an important national and international research tool for the study of nuclei and nucleons (protons and neutrons) using the electron probes. The facility has recently had its capability upgraded through the addition of a 600-foot stretcher/storage ring at the end of the linear accelerator (LINAC). This will allow unique experiments in this important research area which seeks to understand the details of nuclear structure and nuclear interactions."
Professor Kowalski noted that the nation has made significant recent investments in the new 600-foot ring and several new experimental detectors. Bates has the world's highest resolution magnetic spectrometer for measuring particle energy. The accelerator has also been used for calibration for other research tools, such as a high energy gamma ray detector which is now operating on the gamma ray observatory satellite.