A joint Fermilab/SLAC publication

Are accelerators key to American prosperity?

Lori Khatchadourian (University of Michigan) and Adam Smith (The University of Chicago) switch sample mounts at the ChemMatCARS 15-ID-D beamline. The samples are from one of Smith’s excavations in Armenia and date to 1300 B.C. Smith’s group is analyzing relics from northern China, the southern Urals, and the south Caucasus. The group’s goal is to determine the utility of APS analysis to examining large assemblages of mundane objects from different parts of the past. Credit: Argonne National Laboratory

Lori Khatchadourian (University of Michigan) and Adam Smith (The University of Chicago) switch sample mounts at the ChemMatCARS 15-ID-D beamline to analyze excavation relics from 1300 B.C.  Credit: Argonne National Laboratory

Some of the top minds in the nation say accelerators offer one of the best chances to strengthen the American economy and  improve your quality of life.

A series of lectures taped at the Accelerators for America's Future workshop, and now available online from Fermilab, offer insight into how high-tech particle beams have been used for everything from strengthening plastic to treating cancer. The lectures also examine the challenges for identifying, developing and deploying future accelerators to meet the nation’s needs in basic science, medicine, energy and the environment, national security, and industry.

About 400 leaders in industry, academia, and from national laboratories gathered at the workshop in Washington, DC, last month.

symmetry reported on the highlights of the workshop, including the keynote talk by Norman Augustine, the retired chairman CEO of Lockheed Martin Corp. and chairman of the committee that produced the report Rising Above the Gathering Storm: Energizing and Employing America for a Brighter Economic Future for the National Academy of Sciences.

With industry cutting back on basic research and universities facing draconian budget cuts, he said, it’s more important than ever for the government to fund university research and maintain federal laboratories that can deal with large-scale problems, perform high-risk research, build large facilities, plan for the long term and foster research that cuts across disciplines.

“If science is the keystone to the quality of life in the future, that’s a message we need to convey,” Augustine said. “I think it’s important to point out how broadly that impact is felt. People take for granted their iPods, their GPS, their laptops. Most don’t realize that it was people years ago, working in the field of quantum mechanics, that made all this possible.”

You can  read the full story here.

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