Our Neighbourhood Nuclear Accelerator

Several weeks ago, I mentioned to one of my most enthusiastic students that the world’s largest cyclotron happens to be right here in British Columbia. The week before last, he succeeded in getting a day off school for a family outing to Vancouver for a tour of TRIUMF at UBC.  He could barely contain his excitement when I met with him a few days later for his weekly math and physics tutorial. I was pleased to hear that they are doing such a good job of education and public outreach. It has probably been 10 years since the last time I was there so I really must try to include a visit the next time I get over to the mainland.

TRIUMF had only produced its first beam a couple of years before I started as an undergrad at UBC. While taking what was then Physics 120, I knew that one (Erich Vogt) of my two profs for the course had something to do with TRIUMF but at the time I had no clue of his pivotal role as one of its founders.

One of my fellow students from that time later worked at TRIUMF. The last time I saw him he had started his own business here in Victoria but said that having “nuclear accelerator operator” on his resume had certainly helped him get jobs in the intervening years.

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