PhD trip to Australia, 1994

NB: For bigger versions of the thumbnails, please click on the photos.

These photos were taken during my trip to Australia as the UK CHARISSA (Charged Particle Instrumentation for a Solid State Array) looked at the break-up of exotic structures in nuclei. To put it simply, it was hypothesised that 12C being fired at a target of 12C would merge to form a compound nucleus of 24Mg. This would be excited into forming a cluster of 6 α - particles ("shape eigenstates"), and at a bombarding energy of 65 MeV, the clusters would line up in a "chain state" before breaking up with an highly distinctive angular signature. Past experiments had looked at the symmetric break-up of 24Mg into two carbons, and then into 3 α 's- each. I was looking at the asymmetric break-up, into 8Be and 16O. Apart from some interesting resonances, I could find nothing in the data to support the chain state notion.

I keep getting asked "what is the benefit of all this?" The answer is: nothing, just knowledge. For some reason, I got asked this a lot by taxpayers :) Might explain why the Daresbury Nuclear Structure Facility (NSF) accelerator got closed down c.1993 and the equipment shipped off to the Australian National University. They were so pleased they let us use their mighty equipment for free. And they got our commissioned, but never used (in the UK) LINAC (Linear Accelerator) and MEGHA (Multi Element Gas Hybrid Array).

The view that you would see every morning, either walking from the Canberra Travelodge, or the Australian National University (ANU) lodges at Liversidge Apartments, on the banks of Lake Burley Griffin.
The main nuclear accelerator facility was located inside this massive tower, a couple of hundred feet tall. The pressure vessel that accelerated the nuclear species was originally rated at 14 Million Volts!
The main control panel at the Nuclear Physics Department. This is the view that you would see as you walked through the main doors (to the right of the accelerator tower). The controls manoeuvre, deflect and accelerate the particles using magnetic and electric fields. The main work area and workshops are located behing the control boards.
This the Data Acquisition (DA) System to route the data from the experimental chambers (below the tower) into a form that could be read to tape, using a variety of logic triggers etc. As you come through the department doors, this is the view to the left, to one side of the control panel. The person standing beside the electronics is me, on the last day of the data gathering at the ANU. Notice I may look tired - I've just done a 1.00am to 9.00am "Graveyard" shift (to ensure that we get as much data as possible, and to prevent "dead" time in the event of equipment failure, at least one staff member was available at all times.
Me, later on in the day, having been caught by surprise by Dr."Paddy" Regan (see next picture). Behind me, to the left are Dr.Chris Jones (nice bloke, but vey soft spoken), Dr.Roger Ward (great guy, but had a bad stutter), and to the right is the head of the department, Professor George Dracoulis. Yes, that is his name!

These photos were taken in the "dark room", in the main admin block opposite the accelerator facility. It was used to develop pictures (wow, surprise!) but after 5.00pm, it also doubled as a makeshift beer repository. I still think VB (Victoria Bitter) is amongst the best you can buy!

You couldn't meet a nicer person than Dr.Patrick "Paddy" Regan. His wife, Suzy was also very pleasant too....
The full team. Left to right: Tameron and Steve Chappell (they were about to embark on their honeymoon to Hong Kong after the trip), Simon Fox, "Deadly" Doug Watson (my PhD supervisor), me, don't know, Steve "Computer Spod" Singer, don't know, Chris Jones, don't know. Many ANU staff members helped out with our experiments too. Steve, Doug, me, Simon and Chris were all students and staff from York University.
Not technically a part of the work pictures collection, but I had to put this somewhere! This is the telecom tower at the top of the Black Mountain, overlooking Canberra. Its a b*stard of a walk to get to the tower!

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