In November 2015 I joined Michael Condron for a visit to Diamond Light, the UK’s synchrotron which is based at Harwell. This is a very powerful machine which works like a giant microscope, speeding up electrons to near light speed to give out a light 10 billion times brighter than the sun. This incredibly powerful light is used by scientists to study all sorts of subjects, from medicines and disease to materials and cutting-edge technology.
It was a day when the synchrotron was switched off, so were able to walk right into the chambers where experiments take place.
This is mind-blowing technology on a huge scale. When accelerated the electrons are moving so fast that they could travel around the world 7.5 times in a second. As well as being the hottest place on earth (at JET in Culham), this area is also home to the brightest light and the highest speed!