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Bringing FRIB to your crib

By Michael Banks

One of my favourite news stories last year was in the Sun newspaper just before the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) at CERN started up on 10 September.

“Boffins in ‘Doomsday’ rap” ran the Sun headline, which featured a grainy image of two people dressed in lab coats and hard hats in an underground lab.

The story began with “The team behind an experiment which boffins fear could destroy the world have worried sceptics further – by posting a RAP SONG about the procedure on YouTube.”

Of course, that was the “Large Hadron Rap” written by science writer Kate McAlpine, who together with a few colleagues, rapped about the LHC at CERN and what it hopes to find.

Now, however, McAlpine and her crew have released their second rap video — not about particle physics this time but nuclear physics.

The video is shot at the National Superconducting Cyclotron Laboratory (NSCL at Michigan State University, which produces high intensity beams of rare isotopes.

These isotopes are only known to exist in exploding supernovae and could provide insights into the forces between protons and neutrons in nuclei.

The song, with lyrics such as “and to put your nucleus on the nuclear map,
you’ll then measure it in a detector or trap”, is unfortunately not as catchy as the original LHC rap.

However, there are a lot of nice graphics — and corresponding rap — explaining the operation of NSCL’s new $550m Facility for Rare Isotope Beams (FRIB).

The video is even shot in high definition, so no need for any grainy images this time in the Sun.

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