The Spartan Podcast

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“The Facility for Rare Isotope Beams (FRIB) is a particle accelerator where we can speed up atoms of any element from hydrogen to uranium to half the speed of light,” says project manager Thomas Glasmacher. “It’s our job to facilitate scientific discoveries.”

On January 22, the Department of Energy Office of Science gave the FRIB official notice that it can now begin construction.

The economic competitiveness of the nation hinges on scientific discovery, says Glasmacher.

“Why is there gold in your gold watch? FRIB will help answer that question,” says Glasmacher. “Nuclear physicists want to figure out what’s holding atomic nuclei together.

“We’re all made of them, yet we don’t have a predictive theory on which number of protons and neutrons we can combine. The electromagnetic force and gravitation is generally understood, but the nuclear force is not well understood.”

Glasmacher has full responsibility and authority to execute the FRIB Project, including overall line management responsibility, the design, construction and transition to operations of FRIB, the management of all contractors and to ensure all project scope is delivered in a safe, cost-efficient, and environmentally responsible manner.

In early spring, contractors will be mobilized to start excavation, and observers in and around the campus area will begin to see continuous activity and progress.

“Like running a marathon, we have finished training for the race; now we are ready and it is time to start running,” Glasmacher says. “And the FRIB project team will keep running for the next eight years, the time scheduled to deliver FRIB.”

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