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Posts Tagged ‘cyclotrons’

–by Nigel S. Lockyer, Director

Scientists from the China Institute of Atomic Energy (CIAE) and the National Science Foundation of China (NSFC) visited TRIUMF this past week (Tuesday, June 7) and gave me an unusual and exotic gift. I received a fossil of a fish—a herring-like fish!

This present seems well above average.  My first thought was about how they had carried the present thousands of miles, since they were coming from NSF in Washington, DC, and Brookhaven National Lab in the USA. The fossil was encased in a frame the size of a small book with a glass cover. The fossil was of Lycoptera, a fish that existed in China and that part of the world during the Jurassic period (200 million to 145 million years ago). This was the period of dinosaurs, reptiles, first birds, and, yes, fish. It was a time when atmospheric CO2 was 900 ppm, as opposed to present levels of about 390 ppm and the world was hot, on average three degrees Celsius above today’s temperatures…. a very different place from today (I hope).  Erudite papers suggest the Lycoptera is a member of the Leptolepidae family (“Delicate Scales”), an appealing name to me as a particle physicist (reminds me of the leptoquark…also a fossil, but from the beginnings of the Universe).

"Photocopy" of the Lycoptera fish fossil

The NSFC visitors indicated they expected Chinese science investments to grow by 20% per year.  One consequence of that is China now has plans for three rare-isotope beam facilities. Wow!  Finally, let me say we thanked our Chinese visitors by presenting them with six high quality ballpoint pens with TRIUMF, Vancouver BC, emblazoned on the side.

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