Spectroscopy Lab

Approaching the summer solstice, the start of fall-semester classes and their attendant labs seems far away, but a new class of St. Lawrence first-year students will be here before I know it.

Spectroscopy Lab I

This was one of the light sources students were interrogating: a sodium lamp, like the ones used in street lights (at least in the twentieth century—LED street lamps are becoming increasingly dominant now.)

Spectroscopy Lab II

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Upgrading the Advanced Light Source

Berkeley Lab’s Advanced Light Source, a massive X-ray laser sourced from a building-sized particle accelerator, was undergoing upgrades while I visited. Construction in the area added an mundane veneer to the superscience happening inside.

Upgrading the Advanced Light Source

Photonic Air Burst

Too early in the evening and too high in the sky to be a standard sunset: this must be some serious sci-fi gridfire weaponry. The patterns in the Crepuscular rays puts me in mind of MIRV tests, and the scale of the clouds so thoroughly dwarfs the buildings beneath it on the banks of the Hudson River. Connecting spectacular aerial views with apocalyptic power is nothing new, but the twentieth century swapped the power source from divine to human.

Photonic Air Burst