spacer spacer spacer
yalealumnimagazine.com   about the Yale Alumni Magazine   classified & display advertising   back issues 1992-present   our blogs   The Yale Classifieds   yam@yale.edu   support us


The Yale Alumni Magazine is owned and operated by Yale Alumni Publications, Inc., a nonprofit corporation independent of Yale University.

The content of the magazine and its website is the responsibility of the editors and does not necessarily reflect the views of Yale or its officers.


Comment on this article

Inside the Nucleus

Moonshiners at Yale? No, what appears to be the interior of a giant still is in fact the core of the ESTU-1 Tandem Van de Graaf Accelerator in its subterranean bunker under Science Hill. Since the late 1980s, this multimillion-dollar device has been used by physicists at the Wright Nuclear Structure Lab to investigate the inner workings of the atomic nucleus.

©Jake Wyman

The coils of tubing at right control electrical charges that help accelerate a stream of nuclei to speeds approaching 7 million miles per hour. These particles are then directed into target nuclei; detectors measure the outcomes of their interactions, which take place trillions of times quicker than an eyeblink.

Just don’t call the device an atom smasher, says Richard Casten '67PhD, the Wright Lab’s director; it’s used for testing how atoms respond to different stimuli, not how they fall apart. “We don’t want to destroy the nuclei we study,” says Casten, the D. Allan Bromley Professor of Physics. “We just want to tickle them.”  the end


©1992–2012, Yale Alumni Publications, Inc. All rights reserved.

Yale Alumni Magazine, P.O. Box 1905, New Haven, CT 06509-1905, USA. yam@yale.edu