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CERN Courier magazine: July/August 2017 digital edition

Cern Courier

Welcome to the digital edition of the July/August 2017 issue of CERN Courier

Initially developed to explore the smallest constituents of matter, particle accelerators have evolved into powerful instruments for numerous other fields and applications. Their biggest impact outside particle physics, alongside their daily use worldwide in hospital diagnostics and treatments, has been the rise of X-ray light-source facilities – the most recent on the scene, the SESAME facility in Jordan, is based on magnet technology developed in collaboration with CERN and the European Commission. Later this year, the most powerful light source ever – the European XFEL in Germany – will begin user operations. It will generate extremely short pulses of coherent X-rays enabling researchers to “film” fundamental processes at the nanoscale, and driving it is the world’s longest superconducting linac, based on technology simultaneously developed for a linear collider for particle physics. Also this summer, construction for a major accelerator facility called FAIR began in Darmstadt, to provide beams for the heavy-ion and many other communities by 2025. We also report on a novel accelerator-based application of positron emission tomography developed by particle physicists to improve the efficiency of diamond mines. Of course, subatomic exploration remains the main driver of advanced accelerator projects, as exemplified by the LHC. Five years ago, on 4 July 2012, the LHC enabled physicists to announce the discovery of the Higgs boson, and steady progress is being made towards defining its successor.

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