Science: Batavia's Big Beam

For days, excitement had been building at the AEC's huge National Accelerator Laboratory at Batavia, Ill. Crowds of curious spectators hovered anxiously around the main control room, watching the meters and oscilloscope screens. On the screens, a narrow band of light—representing the electrical energy in a beam of speeding subatomic particles inside the atom smasher's doughnut-shaped tunnel—edged toward a telltale marking. The room became strangely silent. Then someone exclaimed, "There it is!" and wild cheering broke out.

The assembled scientists and technicians had every reason for jubilation. After many plaguing problems, the world's largest atom smasher had reached its programmed energy level...

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