The Elmhurst College

The Elmhurst College “atom Smasher”

This is a directy copy of the information sheet that is given out at the Art Accecelator space telling visitors what this space used to be all about. There used to be two machines but one (I believe the smaller one) was removed to make more space to move about. I said last time that I’d post this info, and be sure to check out the little poster I found too.

” The particle accelerator inside the Elmhurst College Accelerator Art space is a Kevatron machine. It was used to break apart the nucleus of an atom in attempts to produce energy in the laboratory. For sixty years, Kevatron accelerators have been used as a physics research tool by countless researchers and scientists. It was created by Dr. Samuel King Allison.

In 1940, during the Second World War, the U.S. government provided Dr. Allison with a grant to study the possibility of using beryllium for an early nuclear reactors. Allison took part in this historic research by running groundbreaking scientific experiments (which had to include a solution to pour over the reactor in case the chain reaction could not be stopped). for his work during the war, Allison was awarded the Medal of Merit, signed by President Harry S. Truman.

Two years after Allison’s death in 1965, the decision was made to dispose of the Kevatron accelerator (then located at the University of Chicago). That year, George Koch, a physics major from Elmhurst College, met John Erwood, a technician hired to develop methods of producing better efficiency on the Kevatron. Koch asked Erwood whether he might be interested in helping to build an accelerator at Elmhurst… surprisingly, Erwood offered to give Allison’s Kevatron to the College. The accelerator was disassembled at the University of Chicago, then transported to Elmhurst where it’s re-assembly began in may 1969.

in 1973, the physical reconstruction of the machine was finished. John Erwood made the decision to turn on the machine, this starting a new age for Elmhurst College, and adding another 25 years to the Kevatron’s useful life. The machine had problems at first, but by 1975 the lab was working well. From 1975 to 1994, the accelerator was used for various experiments by both Elmhurst College students and local scientists.

The final era of the Kevatron ended in 1994. the scientists valued both the opportunity to work on the machine and also to work with the people involved. it is hoped that the accelerator will be preserved for the memories and friendships that have formed around these things. Every year, the people who have worked on the machine throughout the years meet for Kevatron’s birthday party, where it is said that the ghost of Sam Allison still walks the lab. ”


22. October 2011, 19:21 details & comments (0) Posted in: Capstone The permalink address (URI) of this photo is: