The Muon g-2 massive electromagnet begins its 3,200-mile journey from the woods of Long Island to the plains near Chicago. (Photo courtesy of Brookhaven National Laboratory)
Fermilab — Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory — outside Chicago, needed a 50-foot, 15-ton, superconducting electromagnet for their quantum experiment with muon particles. Fortunately, Brookhaven National Laboratory had such a magnet to give. The only problem: how to move it without knocking the magnet out of alignment. The muon magnet couldn’t flex or bend by more than an eighth of an inch over its 50-foot diameter at any point of the 1,000 miles between the two labs.
The magnet’s journey ended up being more than three times longer than originally intended. The transporters built a rigid exoskeleton to hold everything in place, set it on three canisters on a barge and floated it to Chicago. Its passage also shut down an entire highway in the dead of night.
Join Tell Me Something I Don’t Knowin the City of Big Shoulders for a show on transitions — from here to there, from low to high and from fish to human. Our panelists are: