A Visit to Remember – The Australian Synchrotron

On Monday 27 March, 25 members of the Astronomy, Physics and Cosmology class, led by Physics tutor, Tony Heyes,  made a group visit to the Australian Synchrotron which is situated in Clayton.

The Synchrotron is one of Australia’s largest science facilities and is one of only two synchrotrons in the southern hemisphere. Operating 24 hours a day, it provides an invaluable facility for scientists across many disciplines and hosts researchers from around Australia and internationally.

Operating since 2007, the Synchrotron accelerates bunches of electrons to move in a circle at an extraordinary speed, sometimes approaching the speed of light. Strong magnetic fields keep the electrons circulating in a prescribed path. Generating a wide variety of light wavelengths, the Synchrotron enables scientists to examine the molecular and atomic structure of complex molecules such as proteins, drugs, and materials.

Its capabilities offer many advantages over conventional research techniques, providing greater accuracy, quality, robustness and enhanced level of detail, as well as being much faster than traditional methods.

Its advanced techniques are being applied to research in health and medicine, food technology, environment, biotechnology, nanotechnology, energy, mining, agriculture, advanced materials and cultural heritage.

Liz Haylock,

Astronomy, Cosmology and Physics