National High Magnetic Field Laboratory
Forty three physics students from Terry Parker visited the FSU Physics Department and the National High Magnetic Field Laboratory (a.k.a. the Mag Lab) in Tallahassee on November 22. While at FSU the students partook in a discussion about majoring in physics and college life in general with Dr. Susan Blessing, an FSU physics professor and Director of Women in Math, Science and Engineering (WIMSE), toured the tandem and linear particle accelerators (small scale versions of the Stanford Linear Accelerator, an atom smasher akin to the Large Hadron Collider), visited a remote access control room for the Large Hadron Collider's Compact Muon Solenoid, and saw a planetarium show on dark matter. The Mag Lab tour included viewings of several superconducting magnets (some of the most powerful in the world) as well as a brief discussion with a researcher who is attempting to design a replacement for neodymium magnets (the strongest type of permanent magnet, used in devices such as computer disk drives, cordless tools and earbuds); the bulk of the world's supply of neodymium comes from China, and they are charging exorbitant prices for this metal, thus the search for a less expensive and more readily available material to replace the neodymium. The visit was hosted by Dr. Winston Roberts, a nuclear theoretical physicist who visits the physics classes at Terry Parker several times a year and principally funded by Dr. Kirby Kemper, FSU Vice President of Research.