Steve Dierker Assoc Laboratory director-Light Source Project
March 27, 2009 @ 12:00 am EDT
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Our speaker this morning was Dr Steven Dierker Associate Director of Brookhaven National Laboratories. The topic of discussion was the new National Synchrotron Light Source II. This project has been in the planning stage for a long time. The NLSL II will be working with light in the X-ray range. The promise of the research that will be performed with this technology is mind boggling, starting with the physical size of the instrument.
The total commitment in dollars is just under $1 billion. Last week $170million was designated for the initial construction. This will result in 850 construction jobs. The site was already prepared for the work, so this is a truly shovel ready project. The full time staff at this facility will be 500 high paying, high skilled jobs. The economic impact is very significant. But the real excitement is the prospects of the work product that will result.
A few years ago I was reading that the number of these machines were being built in various other countries, notably Switzerland and China, and that technology was surpassing the capacity of our original research equipment. This new Synchrotron Light generator is 10,000 times brighter than anything that has been built anywhere in the world. This machine is, as the cliché states, “a game changer.” The same can be said of the futures it will be bring about. The ability to manipulate matter on a nano-scale means the ability to create batteries for the energy use of future. The ability to create new materials holds out the hope that we can build stronger, and lighter airplanes and surface transportation vehicles which in turn means that less energy will be needed to move those vehicles.
But the Challenging experimentation is not limited to any one field. Advances in medicine are expected in studying Alzheimer’s and many other maladies. We expect to be able to arrange the structures of photovoltaic cells that produce electric current from the sun to generate many times the power than present technology will allow.
The immediate prospects of local busnesses benefiting is encouraged by the lab. They will need the services of a wide variety of providers. The different department heads were named, so that people in the room could contact the appropriate people that would be familiar with a particular need.
BNL needs us, and we need them. This commitment from the federal government will advance science in a way that has not existed since the 60’s, and we have a great opportunity.