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CN 8-276-00
October 19, 2000

Siberian Snakes Put a New Spin on Physics at Brookhaven Lab

UPTON, NY - Chris Cleary, a tool and instrument maker at the U.S. Department of Energy's Brookhaven National Laboratory, constructs a "Siberian Snake," a string of magnets used in physics research. The "snake," invented in Novosibirsk, Russia, will be used to explore the internal structure of protons in Brookhaven's Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider (RHIC).

Protons are elementary particles that are a component of all atoms. Each proton has a property called spin - analogous to a spinning top. Normally, the spin direction is random. To figure out what factors contribute to spin, the scientists will use the Siberian Snake and other equipment to get all the protons spinning in the same direction.

The ultimate goal is to collide spin-polarized proton beams to learn how the spin of protons is related to the spin of their component parts, quarks and gluons. Funds for the Siberian Snake were provided by RIKEN, Japan.

The U.S. Department of Energy's Brookhaven National Laboratory creates and operates major facilities available to university, industrial and government personnel for basic and applied research in the physical, biomedical and environmental sciences and in selected energy technologies. The Laboratory is operated by Brookhaven Science Associates, a not-for-profit research management company, under contract with the U.S. Department of Energy.

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NOTE TO LOCAL EDITORS: Chris Cleary is a resident of East Patchogue, NY.