How the gold is made in CERN

25. 11. 2015

Mgr. Martin Venhart, PhD.CERN - European Organization for Nuclear Research (fr. Organisation européenne pour la recherche nucléaire) is an European organization for basic and applied research particularly in the field of particle physics. It is known mainly for its own European Laboratory for Particle Physics. Organization CERN is currently not only European and it is not interested only in nuclear research. The main function of CERN is the operation of particle accelerators and infrastructure needed for research in high energy physics.

In the November Bratislava Scientific confectioners we had the opportunity to look into the fascinating cuisine of CERN also thanks to outstanding and a enthusiastic young Slovak scientist Martin Venhart.

At the beginning, the author of lectures underlined the importance of basic research in the physical sciences for engineering, including technology. On the concrete examples we have met the terms from the atomic nucleus to specific Slovak experiments at CERN.

The nuclei of atoms, as opposed to the drop of water, are not generally spherical objects. Most of them have shape of ball that is used in British rugby, or athletic disc. This characteristic of nuclear matter is still misunderstood. The only moment when the core is willing to reveal something about its shape, is the moment of its birth.

The best place where it is possible to create a new atomic nucleus is CERN and the best candidate for this is gold. We looked closer at how it's made together with the author of the lecture.

tvar atómového jadra (prezentácia)

Today, it is known about 3000 isotopes of which only about 300 is found in nature. Others must be made in physics laboratories. Atomic nuclei of these isotopes are generally not spherical objects, but they have, as already mentioned, most of the shape of the ball used in British rugby, or athletic disc. The shape of an atomic nucleus crucially determines many of its physical properties. While the existence of core deformation is known for many decades, the physical mechanism of its creation remains still unknown.

Atomic nuclei are microscopic objects that follow the regularities of quantum mechanics. Typical for them is the existence of isolated energy levels. It is interesting that within one nuclear core may exist energy levels that differ from each other by deformation. This is called shape coexistence and is observed in many atomic nuclei.

Rozmery (prezentácia, futbalový štadión)

Rozmery (prezentácia, zrnká piesku)

Experiment CERN-ISOLDE is a unique device that is capable of producing a very wide range of naturally not-existed isotopes. There is no other like this one in the world. Besides many other applications, it can be used to study the shape of atomic nuclei.

At the lectures were presented the basic principles of nuclear physics and particle acceleration. It was also introduced infrastructure of accelerator at CERN, the first Slovak experiment IS521. It is aimed to study structural properties of atomic nuclei of gold.

Slovak experiments at CERN online

Mgr. Martin Venhart, PhD. was a lecture who is Head of the Department of Nuclear Physics at Institute of Physics SAS. He is devoted to experimental nuclear physics, the study of deformation of atomic nuclei and the structure of matter forming the atomic nucleus. He is the coordinator of the experiment IS521 at CERN, experiments S17 and JR115 at the University of Jyväskylä in Finland and PR235 in iThemba Labs in Cape Town. He also leads the development of a unique spectrometer TATRA, which the team of IP SAS uses for their experiments on ISOLDE device at CERN.
odovzdávanie tortičiek za najlepšie otázky študentov v diskusii

Finally, the end of lecture belonged to the debate, after which the lecturer chose three students who were not only actively involved in the debate, but also had interesting questions regarding the topic, which focused mainly on physics.

Prepared by: Mária Izakovičová

Photo gallery and photo in the article: A. Oravcová

In the article were used images from the presentation of the author Mgr. Martin Venhart, PhD.


Translated by: LŠ


Natural sciences, Technical Sciences

Scientific Confectionery: How is the gold produced at CERN