A short trip outside London is a huge silver UFO shaped building, and in August will be a chance to go inside to see the particle accelerator it houses.

Officially, it’s the UK’s national synchrotron, but rather than smashing atoms together to study them, as is done at CERN, here, they are used to generate powerful light beams that can be used to study the inside of materials.

And the entire facility sits in a huge silver ring building in the countryside.

Of importance to science, and commerce, the huge facility is a wonder of big machines that are used to study the microscopic. I visited in 2010, and had a great time there.

The next Inside Diamond event will take place on Wednesday 21st August 2019 and the ballot for this event is now open.

These events are very popular and Diamond Light Source have a limit on the number of visitors they can accommodate so they operate a ballot system to offer a fair allocation of spaces.

To apply for the ballot, go here.

The tours are free of charge.

A visit will take approximately 2/2.5 hours and will consist of:

  • An introductory talk giving a general overview of Diamond and what it is used for.
  • A guided tour – including a trip to see inside the synchrotron and the laboratories – note that extensive walking will be involved.
  • An opportunity to talk to Diamond employees and ask them about their work and the facility.

Buses from Didcot railway station to the Harwell Campus take about half-an-hour on routes 98 or X32.

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