Released By: Australian Synchrotron
Release Date: Mon 20 October 2008

3,000 visitors to one of the world's top 5 lightsources

This Sunday, 26 October, the Australian Synchrotron is holding its first open day since its official opening in July last year. 3,000 visitors have been booked online and the day is now fully booked.
Visitors will receive a unique perspective on work at a facility recently rated in the top 5 synchrotrons in the world.

And with the facility clocking up its 1000th user visit earlier this month, the $221 million facility is fulfilling its promise to become a leading Australian research facility.

This Sunday's Open Day at the Australian Synchrotron is expected to attract 3000 visitors to the Clayton site.

It's the first time since the building was completed in 2005 that the public has been invited to tour the facility.

516 scientists from 48 institutions have already used the synchrotron in their research. Many of the facility's scientists will be available on Sunday to talk about the remarkable array of research including:

  • Developing drugs to fight extreme drug-resistant TB
  • How plankton in the oceans will respond to climate change
  • Detecting forged signatures and faint fingerprints
  • Protecting historic 19th Century documents
  • Making environmentally friendly concrete
  • Making better containment barriers for rubbish tips
  • Detecting the first signs of multiple sclerosis
  • Understanding how vanadium helps in diabetes treatment
  • Improving mineral processing.

Open Day visitors will see the two giant rings and will be able to look inside the open tunnel doors to the heart of the machine where the high energy electron beam is created. They will also be able to inspect the beam transfer tunnel which is part of the recently completed phase 1 external work on the new IMT beamline expected to begin commissioning in mid 2009.

Up to 100 enthusiastic visitors have booked-out the specialist tour. These limited specialist tours take in electrical engineering, mechanical engineering, computing, personal safety systems and accelerator science and will give the visitors an up close and personal look at the work behind the scenes

Recently an independent assessment concluded that the accelerator, the heart of the instrument, now consistently generates >98% light beam availability and places the facility in the top five performing synchrotrons worldwide.

The Director of the Australian Synchrotron, Professor Robert Lamb says

"This will be a great day for us and we are keen to show the public the international science we are doing right here in Melbourne. In our first year of operations we've already produced some exciting results for medical, scientific and industrial researchers."

Victoria's Minister for Innovation, Gavin Jennings, welcomes the Open Day.

"The Australian Synchrotron is an immensely complex and useful facility, a triumph of science and engineering and a hub for groundbreaking research that will improve our lives and boost our economy," Mr Jennings said. "I am encouraged to see so many Victorians will take this great opportunity to get inside a science centre that is normally closed to the public, and learn about the fascinating R&D being done there."

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