Touring NICA17th August 2018
One would have to try really hard to make a tour of our facility non-interesting. People who come to the Laboratory of High Energy Physics (LHEP) at the Joint Institute for Nuclear Research (JINR) are usually pretty excited. It’s not that easy to find a place where the past, present, and future collided and now coexist in such a beautiful harmony: one can see areas where the newest technologies are used or being created, and, in parallel, they can observe or even touch some bits of the JINR history. LHEP was established in 1956 when an international team of talented people built the famous Synchrophasotron. This accelerator (a device that accelerates charged particles) got into the Guinness book as the heaviest in the world. Moreover, after the launched it let the physicists reach the highest energies possible at that time. Have you ever seen anything from the Guinness Book of World Records with your own eyes? I have!
But… we should start our trip from the very beginning. Everything begins with an Ion Source that gives us positively charged nuclei of atoms. In case of NICA (Nuclotron based Ion Collider fAcility) Complex, we have two different Ion Sources – KRION-6T and SPP – the two must-sees for every JINR visitor. I would proceed my tour with the existing part of NICA – two linear accelerators (HiLac and Lu-20), NUCLOTRON, and the old yoke of the Synchrophasotron, where the future NICA Booster is currently being constructed. Of course, we shouldn’t forget about the operating BM@N (Baryonic Matter at Nuclotron) experiment and the NICA collider that is now under construction too. The collider will consist of 2 beam-beam experiments. Each of them will study its own physics. The collider length will be 500 m. It means that a football field can easily fit inside the collider ring. Do you think it would be safe to play football inside?
If there is an experiment, it means that somewhere there should be its control room. Today, we can visit the old control room and the new one, and we can compare and feel this huge leap, the progress made in automation in the last half of the century.
Probably a couple of question popped up in your head, like "Why do people need all this at all? What’s in it for me?" Then you should know that a visit to NICA is possible and more information is available on the website: http://ucnew.jinr.ru/en/ .