Tuesday, November 02, 2004

Come up to my state and look at my isotopes

Ill., Mich. Want New Federal Isotope Lab (Associated Press)

    Like most of us, politicians don't know much about isotopes. But because they know something about money and jobs, lawmakers from Illinois and Michigan are locked in a battle to convince the federal government that their state and not the other one is the perfect place for a new lab devoted to these unstable atomic forms.

    The federal government plans to spend about $1 billion to build an isotope lab that could create a few hundred jobs for scientists and a few hundred more for support staff.

    The choice, expected to be made next year, could come down to Argonne National Laboratory in suburban Chicago or Michigan State University, both leaders in nuclear physics.

    The proposed facility — known as a rare isotope accelerator, or RIA — would allow physicists to explore the structure and forces that make up the nucleus of atoms, test theories of fundamental structure of matter and perhaps play a role in developing new nuclear medicines and techniques. More here

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