MSU Offers Rare Public Visit In Next-Generation Atom Smasher

EAST LANSING – Michigan State University is inviting the public to get behind the scenes at the $730 million Facility for Rare Isotope Beams (FRIB) during an open house from 1 to 4 p.m. on Saturday, Aug. 20.

Attendees will have a rare opportunity to learn more about FRIB and view the FRIB construction progress. The open house is free and open to all ages, and no appointment is necessary to participate.

The Engineering Society of Detroit has hosted two members-only tours of the FRIB and its predecessor, the National Superconducting Cyclotron Laboratory.

At the open house, visitors will:
* Explore the fields of FRIB research with several hands-on activities and demonstrations.
* Meet nuclear scientists as they talk about their work on the frontiers of rare-isotope research.
* Tour the FRIB linear accelerator tunnel and surface building.
* Tour the currently operational experimental areas in the National Superconducting Cyclotron Laboratory that will be used in FRIB experiments.
* Enjoy some educational videos in the “FRIB Movie Theater.”

To view the open house poster, visit:

More information on “Rare Access” is at:

The last tours will start at 4 p.m., meaning attendees will have until 5 p.m. to tour and participate in the events.

Free parking will be available in both the Shaw Lane and Wharton Center parking ramps, and handicap parking will be available near the event entrance.

Questions can be emailed to

When it opens — currently scheduled for 2022 — the FRIB will become the world’s most powerful linear accelerator. MSU won the right to host the federally funded nuclear research center based on its top-ranked program in nuclear physics.

The FRIB has four scientific aims — studying the properties of atomic nuclei; astrophysics, understanding nuclear processes in the cosmos; defense and homeland security, including applications like nuclear material detection; and building the nation’s work force in nuclear physics.

Civil construction — the building itself — is scheduled to be complete next year (and the project is currently 10 weeks ahead of schedule).

The project has created 5,000 temporary construction jobs, and will have 400 permanent high-tech research jobs. The list of scientific users who will use the accelerator currently numbers 1,300.

The FRIB uses electromagnets powered by megawatts of electricity to accelerate and steer a beam of ionized atoms up to nearly six-tenths of the speed of light — more than 350 million miles an hour. The atoms will be directed into a target, where the force of the collision will split them into other, less massive atoms. The debris will do everything from provide clues to the conditions of the early universe and the guts of stars, to create new isotopes that may have applications in medical treatments or imaging.

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