Onlookers watched as crews moved a 50-foot electromagnet down the street from Lemont to Bolingbrook.
The Muon g-2 has traveled 3,200 miles from Brookhaven National Laboratory in New York, through the Gulf of Mexico, up the Mississippi River, to finally land by barge in Lemont.
Tonight marked the first leg of a three-day transport of the electromagnet, which will end at its new home at Fermilab in Batavia.
“My daughter was coming down the street and she saw this big object and she stopped somebody and she says ‘It’s a big, giant magnet coming. It’s a once in a lifetime thing.’ So we got in my car and we came down here to see it,” said Joyce Estrada, Downers Grove resident.
“It’s big and cool,” said Connor Burnetter, Woodridge resident.
“I want to be a scientist and make experiments and build one of these some day,” said Tenleigh Vedok, age nine.
The Muon g-2 will study the “wobble” of muons, subatomic particles with a lifetime of only 2.2 millionths of a second.
“The idea is to see if there is any new Physics out there that we don’t know,” said Adam Lyon, a Scientist at Fermilab. “We have this thing called the Standard Model, which describes particle physics really well. We’re trying to poke holes in it. We’re experimentalists. The theorists tell us ‘Well this is the way nature should be,’ and we check it. It would be very exciting to find something the theory doesn’t explain.”
To build a new electromagnet would have cost about $30 million, but transferring it costs only about $3 million, but it’s a tricky process. The Muon g-2 can’t twist or it will damage the ring entirely.
“There’s a special metal that it uses called niobium-titanium, it’s as fine as human hair. If the magnet twists then we have the possibility of breaking these delicate strands,” said Hogan Nguyen, Lead Scientist for the Muon g-2.
In charge of moving the device is Emmert International, an Oregon based company that specializes in heavy haul transportation.
“We’re just so fortunate that we have great guys that have great depth perception,” said Terry Emmert, President of Emmert International. “Remember they have the guys on the ground and when they get into tight spots there’s a man on each side watching to make sure we have the clearance, all radio communication and we just take it slow and easy to make sure the load arrives perfectly safe.”
This is one of the widest loads ever to be transported across Illinois roads, requiring the closing of streets and removing signs that could be in the way. Therefore, all travel will be done at night.
Night one was a success, ending at the Costco parking lot in Bolingbrook. From there, it will continue to Hidden Lakes Forest Preserve in Glen Ellyn, where it will stay for another night and finally ending at Fermilab early Friday morning.
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