Diamond Light Source, the UK’s national synchrotron science facility and one of Oxfordshire’s flagship science institutes, is preparing to open its doors to the public as part of its 10th Anniversary celebrations.
A special series of open days will take place on Saturday 16th, Sunday 17th and Tuesday 19th June 2012. During these Inside Diamond days, people from across the region will be able to come along to a free pre-booked slot and experience a range of demonstrations that have been devised to explain how Diamond’s synchrotron machine is capable of producing such intense light. Scientists will also be on hand to tell visitors exactly what they’ve been using this intense light for and what discoveries they have made with the help of the synchrotron.
Isabelle Boscaro-Clarke, Diamond’s Head of Communications, explains “We held some large open day events and welcomed thousands of people to the facility soon after operations began in 2007 and they were an overwhelming success. We wanted to recreate this science festival atmosphere and we’ve done this by inviting our technical teams, along with in-house and external scientists, to plan hands on demonstrations and displays that will amaze visitors once more.”
“The weekend is designed to appeal to families and our aim is to show visitors that being a scientist or an engineer is a hugely exciting and rewarding experience”, Isabelle continues, “Youngsters are in for a treat as our scientific team have built a Lego beamline, a moving model of one of the 20 areas inside the doughnut shaped building where scientists conduct their experiments. One of the most interesting things about Diamond is the wide range of experiments that can be done here. We’ll have scientists on hand to talk about their research in areas such as understanding how the body functions and what happens when disease strikes, learning new things about how materials behave under stress and strain to ensure safety in man-made machines like planes and cars, and how synchrotron light can be used to help preserve our history with examples such as ancient parchment and the Tudor warship, the Mary Rose. A timetable of what will be on display when can be found on the Inside Diamond booking page of the website.”
Both as a construction project and as a working science facility, Diamond is something that everyone in the county and the country can take pride in. Between 2002 and 2007, a dedicated team of in-house staff and contractors put a huge amount of effort into ensuring the facility was constructed and up and running for scientific users on time, on budget and to specifications. The following five years were spent delivering science as well as building up the next Phase of construction. More than 1600 scientific papers have been published so far and over 3,000 researchers are now using Diamond, which today has a team of 430 staff.
For its 10th
birthday, Diamond has also launched a blog www.diamond10.org
where everyone who has had a connection to the project can contribute and leave their perspectives. It’s also where anyone new to Diamond can find some useful facts and background to the project.
One of the latest achievements include the Oxford University’s world leading biomolecular biology department’s solving of the Enterovirus 71 (EV71) - a major agent of hand, foot and mouth disease in children that can cause severe central nervous system disease and death. This Virus is a serious public health threat in the Asia South Pacific region and this achievement opens new opportunities for therapies being developed.