Facility for Rare Isotope Beams sneak peak draws in hundreds

EAST LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) – People in East Lansing had the chance to tour the facility for rare isotope beams on Michigan State University’s campus.

The “Rare Access” event was hosted by nuclear scientists who gave presentations on rare isotope research they’re currently working on. Organizers say it’s a way for people to learn more about FRIB and the construction process which is still underway.

More than 1800 people came out to get a sneak peak of this up and coming facility and excited would be an understatement. 6 News spoke with a couple scientific geniuses who say FRIB (Facility for Rare Isotope Beams) will not only benefit the greater Lansing area, but will help with unlimited amounts of research for the future.

“FRIB is a project right now and when it’s done though, it will be the world’s most powerful rare isotope facility,” FRIB Laboratory Director Thomas Glasmacher stated.

“An isotope is one of the forms of the elements so we have all the nature of all the elements we’re familiar with calcium, hydrogen, oxygen but those elements come in different forms and we call those forms rare isotopes,” National Superconducting Cyclotron Lab Director Brad Scherill said.

People lined the halls inside the FRIB facility to see first-hand how science works.

“FRIB is being built to study basic science, to really try to understand the atom and the atom is this tiny world that you know atoms make up everything,” said Scherill.

The project will cost about $730 million to build but scientists like Scherill and Glasmacher say this facility will benefit the community in more ways than one.

“We can make rare isotopes that nobody else made,” said Glasmacher.

“We’re hopefully going to do some really important things for society, in medicine, biology, chemistry, environment,” Scherill stated.

And Scherill says the new facility will draw in researchers nationwide.

“We’re finally going to have the capability to make isotopes that people dreamed about, people knew were important for answering the big questions about nature,” said Scherill excitedly.

But it’s not just Scherill and Glasmacher who are looking forward to FRIB coming to MSU, the community is as well.

“I’m glad it’s here at Michigan State and I think it’s going to bring a lot of opportunities for employment,” Lansing resident Brian Beauchine said.

Now the FRIB facility is about two-thirds of the way done with construction and won’t be completed until 2017. The facility has plans to begin operation in 2022.

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