“Click, click, click!” Jean Smiles kept the official visitor count for the National Synchrotron Light Source and NSLS-II Summer Sunday on July 22. By day’s end, she had reached 1288. That’s a record crowd for light source tours at Brookhaven Lab.
The day was a big success, thanks to the 80-plus group of volunteers from the Photon Sciences Directorate, augmented by relatives and friends.
Nora Detweiler, who coordinates the Summer Sundays tour program for Brookhaven Lab, reported that “visitors were all very impressed with the group’s knowledge and how well they spoke about the facilities.”
Most of the volunteers worked at the displays – talking, showing and teaching.
Large throngs formed around the liquid nitrogen table, where people watched soap bubbles explode, balloons shrink and magnets levitate. The marshmallow Peeps station was another favorite stop, set up by Daphne Meza and Natalie Delpratt to demonstrate “sounds of silence” in a vacuum. Christopher Wright and his band braved the bright sun all day to do a show and tell on miniature cars powered by solar energy and fuel cells, connecting NSLS-II to energy research. Inside the NSLS-II storage-ring tunnel, Steve Jarzabkowski and his team fielded questions about magnets and particle accelerators.
All ten displays were crowd pleasers.
Visitors found other interesting diversions. Megan Bourassa coordinated a series of well-attended talks, set up in a quiet corner of NSLS-II. The speakers were a mix of students, beamline staff, beamline scientists and a local teacher whose high-school students conduct remote experiments on NSLS.
Daphne Meza, undergraduate student, Universityof New Orleans
Visualizing Lou Gehrig’s Disease at the Molecular Level
Ahmad Mohammad, undergraduate, Duke University
Comparison of the Linearity of Different Types of X-ray Detectors
Natalie Delpratt, undergraduate, Columbia University
Plants: Our New Fuel-ture
Niaja Farve, graduate student, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Beams of Light the Size of DNA: How it’s Done and Used
Edwin Lazo, beamline staff, BNL-Photon Sciences
Crystallography: Small Steps on the Long Road to Solving a Protein Structure
Lisa Miller, beamline scientist, BNL-Photon Sciences
What Synchrotron Light Can Tell Us About Alzheimer’s Disease
Peter Siddons, beamline scientist, BNL-Photon Sciences
Synchrotron X-rays in Art and Archeology
Alvin Acerbo, recent Ph.D. graduate, Stony Brook University
A Graduate Student’s Life at the National Synchrotron Light Source
Lucinda Hemmick, science teacher, Longwood High School
Tobacco, Forensics, and PaleoIndians: These Are a Few of Our Favorite Things at NSLS!
Paul Gelfand, graduate student, Stony Brook University
Exploring Lou Gehrig’s Disease One Cell at a Time
The Lab’s guests were eager to fill out quizzes for a chance to win raffle prizes. Among the questions: “Light can also exist in the form of particles called __________.” Most answered correctly: photons.
The official “voice” at NSLS-II was Bruno Semon, who carried a portable microphone to announce the raffles, the science talks, and whatever needed to be broadcast to the crowds. He also kept in contact with Kathy Nasta, who was the official “voice” at NSLS, where she and Sue Perino organized guided tours, a perennial favorite for Summer Sundays.
In the afternoon, especially, NSLS tours ran continuously. Whenever multiple groups converged on the booster ring, “Rainer” Rainer simply adjusted his volume and kept up his description of how NSLS works. The tour guides and escorts also took their charges around the experimental floor, pausing at several beamlines to give details on the experiments.
Summer Sunday was a long day for all the volunteers, many of whom had even put in time prepping for the day. But, as Smiles quipped at the end when she turned in the counter, “It was sooo much fun!”