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New Fermilab Photos July 3, 2008

Posted by gordonwatts in Fermilab, photography.
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I’m always on the watch for new photos relating to particle physics. It seems there is a fairly new group on Flickr — Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory. Check it out, and if you have pictures of Fermilab, do contribute them!


Angles and Demons – ATLAS June 5, 2008

Posted by gordonwatts in ATLAS, CERN, photography, physics life.

Apparently the ATLAS detector will make an appearance in the film based on Dan Brown’s book Angels and Demons (at least, if the detector scenes aren’t left on the cutting room floor).

Quote from the article:

Anyone at ATLAS who has read the novel is sure to have their own opinions on the author’s particular “creative” take on the laws of physics and his representation of CERN. But, like it or not, CERN plays an important part in the story – as the location from which antimatter is stolen by a secret society intent on creating a bomb to destroy the Vatican.

Right. ’nuff said about the book.

What I thought was very cool was instead of trying to film a scene in the detector – it is almost impossible now as the detector hall is so crowded – they will instead do a 3D model of it and use that. How cool is that? Too bad we can’t do that to all the various bits of equipment that we install and then save them. Sort of the way we currently take digital photographs.

Stammers, who is doing the 3D work for the movie, described the process as follows:

We use these [images] with our own in-house software – an image-based modelling tool – to pinpoint certain areas within each image that are also in other images,” he explains. “From that we can extrapolate a 3D model which is scale accurate, and the photographs can then be used as textures to apply to that model.

This sounds a lot like the PhotoSynth project out of Microsoft Research. I’ve been waiting for someone to make this sort of thing available to someone like me to play around with (read: basically free except for CPU time). While I’m sure I’d never do as high quality job as someone paid for the movies, imagine what you could do with all the detector bits, some of the collision halls, etc.? Now, that would be cool. And then if you could make decent 3D viewing software – what a great outreach project (well, I think it would be cool – no telling what others would think, of course).

National Geographic LHC Article and Pictures March 13, 2008

Posted by gordonwatts in ATLAS, LHC, photography.
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CIMG1100Thirsting for some stunning pictures of the LHC? Check out this article in the National Geographic magazine. Make sure to look at the photo-gallery that comes along with the article. Some of the pictures — like the ALICE and CMS detector pictures are really stunning (ATLAS too, of course, but we’ve seen that one already).

BTW — the ATLAS detector is no longer all that photogenic on a grand scale – the cavern is now so full of bits of the detector it is quite difficult to get an idea of how big it is – all your site lines are blocked!

The picture is one of mine of ATLAS. The ones from ATLAS are much better!

Physics Pictures March 4, 2008

Posted by gordonwatts in photography, physics life.
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I’ve long been a fan pictures of things physics. Physics generates some truly spectacular images and is one way to make it more accessible! A few years ago as chair of the awards committee I ran a small photograph contest for members of the department. That was fun. But department level efforts like this are small time. 🙂

The APS is currently collecting photos of research to put on their home page. I wish they would publish a picture book of these things – and expand the selection of pictures they currently have up (a history).

BTW, if you want to see a large archive of particle physics pictures you should check out the Fermilab archive of pictures (click on the 5 blocks at the top to select the type of pictures).