Science: Super-Smasher

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The second biggest and (it is hoped) the most powerful cyclotron in the world was nearing completion last week. It was being built at Nevis, Columbia University's atomic country estate near Irvington-on-Hudson, N.Y. The 2,300-ton magnet (whose concentrated field will make electrified particles whirl in obedient circles) has been assembled out of 60-ton steel chunks. The drum-shaped pole pieces in the center will be wound with coils containing 150 tons of copper. The building, to be banked with earth to block deadly radiation, is finished (see cut).

The cyclotron's up-to-date design will probably make it more powerful than its bigger (4,000-ton) rival at Berkeley, Calif. Columbia's physicists believe that their new gadget will smash not only atoms, but also the basic particles (protons, neutrons, etc.) of which atoms are made.