By Carl A. Williams, June 27, 2023
ATAP is committed to nurturing the next generation of scientists by conducting outreach and educational activities that promote a better understanding of the science and applications of particle accelerator technologies. These activities, which include seminars, tutorials, workshops, and guided tours of Berkeley Lab’s facilities, are crucial for building a pipeline to careers at the Lab.
“A key part of our mission is to support and foster the development of tomorrow’s scientists,” says Paolo Ferracin, a Senior Scientist and deputy of the Superconducting Magnet Program in the Accelerator Technology & Applied Physics (ATAP) Division.
“We need a constant supply of new researchers coming to our division and the Lab to push the frontiers of particle accelerator and high-energy physics research. So, I value opportunities to raise awareness of our research and its importance not just to advancing scientific knowledge but how these advances benefit the wider community and society.”
Ferracin, an enthusiastic proponent of ATAP and the Lab’s outreach activities, contributes to these whenever possible.
For instance, he recently conducted a guided tour of the Lab’s facilities for a group of students from Berkeley High School, where he described the science behind superconducting magnets and the various processes for designing and fabricating them.
“It was an enjoyable and satisfying experience,” says Ferracin. “They were very engaged and asked some great questions that were very insightful, which showed that they were listening to me and were keen to understand more about magnet technologies and the physics of particle accelerators.”
Ferracin also presented on the topic of quench training and its significance when developing new superconducting magnets at the “Lectures on Superconducting Magnet Test Stands, Magnet Protections and Diagnostics,” which was held from May 30 to June 12 at CERN in Switzerland.
Quenching is a sudden and unpredictable loss in the superconductivity of a magnet. Quenching training, he says, is one of “the most studied and debated phenomena in superconducting magnets and involves gradually improving magnet performance with repeated quenches at higher and higher currents to reach the desired current, and has a significant impact on the cost and development times for a magnet.”
Earlier in the month, he also delivered a Student Tutorial entitled “Superconducting magnets for circular accelerators” at the 14th International Particle Accelerator Conference (IPAC23), held from May 7-12 in Venice, Italy. Over a hundred doctoral students attended his workshop, which focused on the properties and characteristics of the superconducting dipole magnets used in accelerators like the CERN Large Hadron Collider.
Additionally, Ferracin taught a course at the Joint Universities Accelerator School (JUAS), an international graduate school for scientists and engineers studying for a Master’s degree or preparing a doctoral thesis. JUAS delivers an academically accredited program in partnership with CERN and a group of 13 European universities and the LASCALA Erasmus Mundus joint master’s degree.
The course, entitled “Superconducting Magnets for Particle Accelerators,” focused on the “basic physical principles behind a superconducting magnet for accelerators, and the rationale behind key parameters from a magnetic, mechanical, and thermal point of view, and was attended by about 40 students as part of Course 2,” he explains. The course ran from 13 February – 17 March 2023 at the European Scientific Institute in France.
He says the course “was part of a proud and long ATAP tradition of supporting JUAS and other schools—like the US Particle Accelerator School—that help to bring new people into our field.”
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