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April 11, 2013

Buhl Lecture

Research Speeds Up for Particle Accelerators

By Jocelyn Duffy

HoltkampWhile the best-known particle accelerators are enormous, bigger isn't always better.

Norbert Holtkamp, associate laboratory director for the accelerator directorate at the SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory, will provide a look at the future of accelerator technology when he delivers the Buhl Lecture in Theoretical Physics.

His lecture, titled "Particle Accelerators: Ships of discovery - Tools for a better life - Technologies for the future," will be at 4:30 p.m., Tuesday, April 23 in the Mellon Institute Auditorium. The lecture is free and open to the public, and will be followed by a reception in the Mellon Institute Auditorium.

Including the recently constructed Large Hadron Collider (LHC), there are an estimated 300,000 accelerators around the world. These machines create beams of particles that can shrink tumors, produce cleaner energy, clean dirty drinking water, map proteins, design drugs, detect an art forgery, reduce nuclear waste, package a Thanksgiving turkey and discover the secrets of the universe, according to the U.S. Department of Energy publication Accelerators for America's Future.

Over the years, accelerators for particle physics have been growing larger and larger, as evidenced by the 27-kilometer-circumference LHC. The next step in accelerator research is for physicists to break the paradigm of "bigger is better," which Holtkamp will discuss in his talk.

Holtkamp's research focuses on high-energy colliders, linear accelerators and accelerator-based neutrino physics. He has served on numerous laboratory programs and governmental advisory committees including the High Energy Physics Advisory Panel's long-range planning subpanel in 2002, and the National Academy of Sciences' decadal panel on elementary particle physics, EPP 2010.
Prior to joining the SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory, Holtkamp was involved in the commissioning of the Main Injector accelerator at Fermilab, served as the director of the Accelerator Systems Division of the Spallation Neutron Source at Oak Ridge National Laboratory, and was the principle deputy director general of ITER, an international fusion reactor project.

Sponsored by Carnegie Mellon's Department of Physics, the Buhl Lecture is funded under the auspices of the Buhl Professorship in Theoretical Physics, which was established at Carnegie Mellon in 1961 by The Buhl Foundation.

What: "Particle Accelerators: Ships of discovery - Tools for a better life - Technologies for the future"
When: 4:30 p.m., Tuesday, April 23
Where: Mellon Institute Auditorium