In the upcoming years, GSI will expand enormously, through the construction of FAIR, the Facility for Antiproton and Ion Research.
A plan of GSI, and the new FAIR complex, shown in red. From the flyer "FAIR: Facility for Antiproton and Ion Research" (PDF file).
FAIR is a large international project, with a billion-euro budget. It will consist of several accelerators and storage rings, and provide high-intensity beams of heavy ions and antiprotons, and secondary beams of rare and unstable nuclei. Many different experiments will study phenomena as diverse as compressed baryonic matter, nuclear structure relevant for astrophysics, antiproton-proton collisions for hadron spectroscopy, or properties of high-energy irradiation for biophysics and materials research.
Construction of the FAIR accelerators has not begun yet, but yesterday saw the topping-out ceremony of the first hall built, the testing hall, where parts of the accelerators, bending magnets and experimental equipment will be thoroughly checked before deployment in the facility.
The topping-out, or "Richtfest," is a quite typical German tradition: Once the raw structure of a building up to the roof has been erected, a ceremony and subsequent party with the building owner, the architects, and the craftsmen is held. It's an occasion for a few solemn speeches, an occasion for politicians to pose for photos, and for exchanging best wishes for the future of the project.
As we were in the area yesterday, we used the opportunity to attend the topping-out, and to say hello to some old friends. Let's also not forget that following the ceremony there was the annual GSI summer party, idylically taking place at a small lake next to the facilities.
Here is the Scientific Director of GSI, Professor Dr Horst Stöcker, greeting the guests.
After the greetings, a representative of the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research, Andreas Storm, spoke a few words and affirming the importance of FAIR and the funding of the project.
Storm said a lot of nice words, among other things he mentioned that the GSI recently had the honor to name the newly discovered chemical element "Copernicium" after its discoverer. Since unfortunately Copernicus died more than 450 years ago, the actual discovery was done by a group to whose leader Storm referred to as Ms Sigurd Hofmann. Hofmann probably doesn't often get mistaken for being a woman. Storm btw is totally hip and has a twitter account.
The below photo shows the pulling up of the "Richtkranz" to the ceiling (to the tune of Ode to Joy on Saxophone and bass, not bad at all):
And here is the master builder, in the traditional dress of a carpenter, toasting on the future of the building. The ceremony was finished by throwing the glass to the floor.
And if you like ducks, here's a photo from the little lake where we then went and grabbed some cake and sausages.
For more about FAIR, there is a flyer "FAIR: Facility for Antiproton and Ion Research" (PDF file, 4.2 MB), and a longer "FAIR brochure" (PDF file, 17.9 MB).
TAGS: physics, GSI, FAIR