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A soggy afternoon at TRIUMF

Ariel hardhat

Building ARIEL

By Hamish Johnston at the AAAS Annual Meeting, Vancouver, Canada

One of the pleasures of my job is that I get to talk to people who are passionate about physics. But nothing prepared me for Lia Merminga, who has to be the most enthusiastic physicist I have ever met. Merminga is head of the accelerator division at TRIUMF in Vancouver – which started as a particle-physics facility back in 1968 but has since branched out into nuclear, medical, biological and condensed-matter physics.

I was at the lab yesterday, dodging the puddles as we toured the campus under leaden skies. The highlight of the tour was getting a close-up look at the cyclotron, which was shut down for maintenance.

You can see the photos I took during the tour on our Flickr page.

I also spoke to Merminga about the Advanced Rare Isotope Laboratory (ARIEL) electron accelerator facility that is currently being built at TRIUMF. Indeed, I suspect much of her enthusiasm comes from the fact that she has what must be a dream job for an accelerator physicist – she’s in charge of building a brand-new accelerator!

I spoke with Merminga about many aspects of ARIEL, so look out for an interview sometime in the future on

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