LBL Nuclear Science Division unveils new addition

April 15, 1994

By Mike Wooldridge,

The Nuclear Science Division officially unveiled a new addition to Bldg. 88--home of the 88-Inch Cyclotron--with a ribbon-cutting ceremony on Tuesday, April 5. A crowd of about 50 people looked on as LBL Director Charles Shank cut the red ribbon on the new space.

Located on the building's top floor, the 14-room addition provides the Nuclear Science Division with much-needed space for researchers and visiting scientists working at the Cyclotron. "It is a good day for the Laboratory, the nuclear physics community and the nation," said NSD Director James Symons. "The building expansion is an important part of making LBL an attractive place for physicists from around the world to do their research."

A new and important aspect of this research is the Gammasphere, a detector under construction at the facility. When fully operational in 1995, the Gammasphere will be the most powerful gamma-ray detector in the world and the nation's primary research instrument for nuclear structure physics. The $20-million detector has been designated a national user facility, and will host researchers from across the United States and abroad.

The Gammasphere is currently in its early implementation phase, running preliminary experiments with 36 of its 110 gamma-ray detectors installed. In the past year, 35 experiments have been run on the Gammasphere, involving more than 100 users from 31 institutions around the world. Later this summer, engineers will install a state-of-the-art spherical cage on the device, which will hold the detectors in place and allow them to be rotated around the point of collision.

At the ribbon-cutting ceremony, LBL Director-at-Large Glenn Seaborg gave a brief talk about the origins of the 88-Inch Cyclotron, which generated its first beam in 1961. Claude Lyneis, program head at the Cyclotron, gave an overview of the planning process for the new addition, from the project's review in 1991 to the beginning of construction last May.

Shank said the most important factor in getting the addition built was the quality of the research going on at the facility. He noted that the facility had been faced with closure in 1990 and had survived a competitive review with two other facilities. "There was tremendous science going at the Cyclotron," he said.

The addition was designed by Michael Willis and Associates of San Francisco, with Gail Bouvrie as the chief architect. The general contractor was J. H. Fitzmaurice of Oakland.