Some photos from a construction tour of FRIB (the Facility for Rare Isotope Beams)

This is basically just the blogification of some social media posts I’ve written, since it occurred to me some web-searchers might find these photos also interesting! Caption accuracy is not guaranteed, click the photos to make them larger. If you don’t know FRIB, it is basically a $730 million bump-out of the National Superconducting Cyclotron Laboratory (NSCL) here in East Lansing, Michigan, that will enable them to run experiments much faster… it is also a linear accelerator rather than a cyclotron. The facility is a little over half-done. And now, some photos.

Here we are about to go on the tour.


Most of the folks with us were cyclotron operators – that is, they run the show at the NSCL. It was fun overhearing their conversations (especially about how they were going to fix stuff that breaks in the new setup!).


Place started to feel like a bunker once you headed underground, I know where I’m going once the zombies come.


Here is the main beamline tunnel, 35 feet below grade and about 500 feet long, which the beamline will travel through in a sort of paperclip pattern. It was nice and cool down there. The facility electrical connection is for 25 MW, more than Michigan State University’s powerplant can provide, with a 4 MW backup for cryo systems. The walls down here are 3 feet thick, the floor 4.5 feet, the ceiling 3.5 feet.


Just another photo of the tunnel, the long pipe running down the middle will carry cryo fluids.


This is where they’re going to lower the Stargate into the tunnel to travel to other planets. They’ll never admit it, of course. (Oh… you’re all Stargate fans.)


Near the target areas there was a special high-density concrete, cost $1600 per cubic yard, so high in iron it would attract a magnet (as our tour guide demonstrated).


I want to say this was a cooling control room, but note especially the renderings on the wall – our tour guide mentioned that 300 draftsmen worked on the project.


Lots of 3000 pound, lead-lined doors about.


I can’t remember what this room was for, but here is Bec looking professional.


The squares will eventually be leaded-glass windows looking into the target areas.


Final photo – and this photo doesn’t really do justice to the scale of the space. The wall on the left is 7.5 feet thick (“because we have neighbors on that side”). The facility bottoms-out about 60 feet below grade with some water storage tanks, above that is the beam dump (the last place the beam goes), and above that are the targets themselves.


Good tour.

Historical Information on the Chesterfield Hills neighborhood of East Lansing, Michigan

When we were considering purchasing a home in the Chesterfield Hills neighborhood, I tried to find historical information about the neighborhood online and could find precious little.  To my pleasant surprise, after moving in I found the previous owner had left behind some papers that contained just what I was looking for!  So I have digitized them for the next owner-to-be browsing the interwebs.

The 1st Amd. doesn’t end at the church’s front door

Above is a photo I took this morning of a new apartment building going up in downtown East Lansing. Note the giant architectural cross built into the facade – I have to say that because I actually saw the building many times without ever noticing the cross! But apparently other people are more observant than me, because an article I read this morning implied that some residents have expressed discomfort with the feature, and suggested to the city that it might perhaps violate the 1st Amendment to the US Constitution. The building is being constructed entirely with private money, and the City Attorney has rightly replied that not only is it perfectly legal for the developers to put a giant cross on the side of their building if they want one, but furthermore that if the city tried to stop them, the city would be in violation of the 1st Amendment.

So that’s all good, but that people even complained in the first place just goes to show, I think, that some people have this idea that you are entitled to a free exercise of your religion, as long as it stays inside the walls of your place of worship or your home. But as soon as it starts leaking out into the wider world, they have a problem, and might even think you have a legal problem. (In fact, maybe you could even say that an amendment that was originally created mainly to protect the rights of religious folk from interference from the government, is now being used by some to try to justify interference from the government. So upside down is the world today.)

There be wildflowers in these parts

And have been for the last couple weeks or so. Just a couple photos from the North Tier Trail in East Lansing today:

And one from Hawk’s Nest park. They are everywhere:

Where I also saw an otter! I think. Couldn’t really see the tail.