Facility for Rare Isotope Beams Opens Doors to the Public this Saturday

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Friday, August 17, 2018, 2:01 pm
Noa Kuszai

For the first time, the accelerator at the Facility for Rare Isotope Beams (FRIB) will be on display for visitors at the FRIB Open House on Saturday, Aug. 18. At the last open house, held in 2016, only the tunnel that the accelerator is now housed in was complete for visitors to see.

According to Thomas Glasmacher, FRIB Laboratory Director, the tunnel is filling up with equipment, causing space to be limited. He said that visitors will be able to walk through the tunnel on Saturday, but at the next open house in two years the tunnel will be filled, not allowing for foot traffic.

Glasmacher explained that holding open houses like this one is important to show taxpayers where their money is going.

According to Artemis Spyrou, Associate Director for Education and Outreach, FRIB advertises open houses every two to three years.

“At previous ones, we got 800 people, 1,000 people, something like that. But [in 2016] we got 4,000,” Spyrou said.

Spyrou also explained that open houses and tours are occurring more frequently in past years due to the rapidity of the installation of FRIB. Visitors will also be able see the National Superconducting Cyclotron Laboratory (NSCL), which is constantly undergoing new upgrades to its equipment and buildings.

“Now with FRIB, the progress is made so quickly it’s really useful for people to come back and see how things are changing,” Spyrou said.

Tours and open houses are not the only community interaction that the staff at FRIB have been utilizing. Scientists are also working on projects with the Wharton Center for Performing Arts and the Impressions 5 Museum in Lansing to get more people interested in science.

“If it’s schools, then we’ll do hands-on activities with them and demos and things like that,” Spyrou said.

Along with this, they have created a free online game, called Isotopolis, which allows the user to create their own nuclei and make new ones. Spyrou explained that with these combined efforts they reach about 10,000 people a year.

At the open house on Saturday, visitors can expect activities, demonstrations, presentations with nuclear scientists and tours of FRIB and the NSCL. The open house starts at 11 a.m. and ends at 5 p.m., with the last tours starting at 4 p.m. Admission and parking are free and the event is open to all ages. Registration is unnecessary.

For the first time, there will be a food truck for visitors, located in the Wharton Center circle. Visitors can park at the Shaw Lane and Wharton Center parking ramps, and accessible parking will be available near the tour entrances.

If visitors need accommodations, it is asked that they contact Alexa Allen at 517-908-7801 or events@frib.msu.edu between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. by Friday, August 17.


Wharton Center is located at 750 E Shaw Lane, and the FRIB is located just west of Wharton Center. The Shaw Lane parking ramp is approximately one block northwest of Wharton Center.


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