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Engineering Challenges of Particle Accelerators

Tuesday 16 December 2008, 0955-1020
Lecture Theatre 1, Management School Building

Engineers seek to respond to human needs and aspirations. They do this by drawing on the vast accumulated knowledge of the profession and by engaging in research to meet new challenges. An example of this process is found in the design of particle accelerators for advanced scientific research.

Particle accelerators are essential research tools in many fields of science and technology. The use of machines such as the Large Hadron Collider at CERN to probe the fundamental secrets of the universe is well-known. Other, less familiar, machines are used to make progress in life sciences, surface and materials science and nano-technology. All accelerators employ high power radio waves to accelerate tiny bunches of charged particles to speeds approaching that of light. The particle bunches may be used directly in scientific experiments or to generate other particles or intense light for that purpose. The development of these machines provides great challenges for the engineers who design and build them.

This talk, by Richard Carter of the Engineering Department and Cockcroft Institute, will describe some of the engineering challenges involved in developing accelerators and illustrate them from research being carried out in the High Power Microwave Research Group in the Engineering Department.