LEMONT, Illinois (CBS) – After a 3,200-mile, $ 3 million journey – via the Atlantic Ocean, the Gulf of Mexico, and the Mississippi River – a giant superconducting magnet is almost in its new home at the Fermi Laboratory.
Known as the Muon g-2 storage ring, the electromagnet will be used to study muons, subatomic particles with a lifespan of just 2.2 millionths of a second, in the hope of discovering particles. subatomic hidden in a vacuum.
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John Cody of WBBM Newsradio reports that the 50-foot circular electromagnet – as sensitive as a 50-foot glass ring – began its journey from Long Island on June 22.
Because it requires a rolling five-lane roadblock, it was first placed on a barge and shipped along the Atlantic coast, across the Gulf of Mexico, and then up the Mississippi River.
It was unloaded on Saturday after the barge arrived at Lemont, in the Chicago sanitary and maritime canal.
The heavy movers of Emmert International will take care of the shipment of the giant magnet from Lemont to Batavia.
It will begin its last overland trip on Tuesday evening along Lemont Road. It will be moved at night to minimize traffic disruption caused by the rolling barrier that will occupy five traffic lanes.
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Wednesday evening it will be shipped along I-355 north to Route 56. Thursday evening it will take Route 53 south to I-88 West arriving at Fermilab in Batavia on Friday. just in time for a welcome party that afternoon.
Illinois State Police, DuPage County Sheriff’s Police, and other police departments will escort the truck.
“We have an Internet service provider, we have DuPage County and several local municipalities. We’ll probably have 15 to 18 different police cars every night escorting us, ”said Emmert International Vice President Terry Emmert Jr.
He said the delicate 17-ton ring cannot flex more than 2 millimeters – less than a tenth of an inch – and will not move more than 10 miles per hour.
Dr Bradley Roberts, a professor of physics at Boston University helping to lead the Fermilab experiment, said the massive magnet should be operational in about three years, when scientists hope to see if they have found any clues to particles of dark matter, for which they have been hunting for years.
He said the device will help measure, and possibly explain why the muon’s magnetism appears to be slightly shifted by a theoretical value of two.
“This difference from two is due to virtual quantum particles fluctuating in and out of a vacuum, they appear and disappear, but they change the magnetism of the muon,” Bradley said.
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This could indicate the existence of as yet unknown particles, possibly even dark matter.