Have Gear, Will Travel

A major upgrade would normally be considered a sure sign of rowth at a national lab. But when the upgrade—in this case, a million dollar spectrometer—is specially designed to be transportable to other labs, there’s reason to wonder how long its creator will be around. That’s the word among scientists at Los Alamos National Laboratory’s experimental accelerator facility, known as LAMPF. Last month, officials there decided to back a proposal by a consortium of six universities to build a Neutral Meson Spectrometer at Los Alamos. The spectrometer is designed to be able to measure the pi0 subatomic particle to within 1%, a precision at least an order of magnitude greater than is currently possible with existing equipment. LAMPF officials plan to operate it for at least five years after its completion in 1992. But then, at some point, says University of Colorado physicist Gerald Peterson, who...

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