Friday, October 15, 2010

Physics Photowalk Winners Announced

On the 7th of August five of the world's leading particle physics laboratories in Asia, Europe and North America welcomed more than 200 amateur photographers from around the world for some happy snaps of each facility for the purposes of the 1st Physics Photowalk. The submitted photos were judged globally by a jury and the people leading to the peoples choice awards and the global jury's choice awards.

Winners of the 1st annual Physics Photowalk have now been announced.

8Pi experiment

Winning 1st place in the Global Jury category and third in it's local competition is the 8Pi experiment at TRIUMF - Canada’s national laboratory for particle and nuclear physics.

The 8Pi program was built in 1985 specifically to detect the very weak energy emitted from decaying atomic nuclei. A key element of the 8pi program is the study of superallowed Fermi beta decay which helps validate the theory of the Standard Model.

The SM predicts a set of rules which specifies the basic constituents of our Universe and the forces that act between them. At ISAC, studies of the decay of radioactive isotopes are being pursued to obtain a better understanding of these fundamental forces in nature.

Photographer: Mikey Enriquez | Laboratory: TRIUMF
This photo depicts the insides of half of the 8pi spectrometer with the SCEPTAR vacuum chamber missing from the middle. Not much physics is getting done in this photo, but as voted by the global jury, it's making some excellent art.

You can view the rest of the local TRIUMF winning photos here & the rest of the TRIUMF photowalk photos worthy of an honourable mention here.

DESY wire chamber

Perhaps the most winning photo, the DESY wire chamber is able to claim first place in the peoples choice awards and second in the global jury. It also won first place in the DESY local awards.

Called “technically flawless and simply fascinating.“ by the global jury, this portrait captured their interests due to it's high symmetrical beauty.

DESY Stands for Deutsches Elektronen-Synchrotron. According to it's website:

DESY develops, runs and uses accelerators and detectors for photon science and particle physics.

Photographer: Hans-Peter Hildebrandt | Laboratory: DESY
The Wire Chamber, pictured above, and also known as a Drift Chamber is a detector for particles of ionizing radiation. DESY, uses these wire chambers to detect the direction and momentum of radiation resulting from a collisions between electrons and a gas molecules. This particular photo depicts the endcap of the inner detector of the H1 experiment at HERA.

The main interest of research of the H1 collaboration is to measure the structure of the proton, to study the fundamental interactions between particles, and to search for physics beyond the Standard Model of the elementary particles.

You can view the rest of the local DESY winning photos here & the rest of the DESY photowalk photos worthy of an honourable mention here.

Here are a few of my favourites.

TRIUMF's material-science facility

This is my favourite. I love the collision of hard core science with comic book like character. The cartoonish look has me searching for the evil villain or troublesome kids getting up to mischief.

Mikey Enriquez softened the photo using a digital texturing technique.

Photographer: Mikey Enriquez | Laboratory: TRIUMF

Broken Symmetry

This is a close second because I could essentially tell what it was depicting as soon as i saw it. Broken Symmetry the reason why we're all here today. Physics as we see it today consists of four very different fundamental forces, but which we believe they were all completely symmetrical at one time. Thus, as we see them now, their symmetry is broken, which is why we have all the different types of particles as described the the standard model and those which we have not yet found.

For me, you couldn't have done better if you had mistakenly photographed Jesus burnt into your morning toast.

Photographer: Ken Duszynski | Laboratory: Fermilab
Lastly, what a great idea. Sure there are a lot of photos from accelerators all over the place but these things are being built every year. Next year no doubt there will be more photos from accelerator and detectors that did not exist this year. I can't wait.

The entire set of photos are available on flickr.

Let me know which photos you liked best and why.

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