This week I received an official invitation for visiting TRIUMF which is very exciting. We also focused on finding out a way how to translate raw ROOT data file from Thanassis’s DRAGON experiment into a format readable by 3D programs like Maya and Houdini. So far it looks like I need to write a simple Python patch to do the translation. Luckily Python is part of both Maya and Houdini, and there is a Python ROOT library that should ease the job. Houdini is an excellent data visualization program and works well with Maya, so I am looking forward to digging into this!
(Listen to Matej's art an science podcast at biocollider.art)
Things are going great between me and Matej! We are still trying to find an elegant way to share my data in an easy-to-read format and after that he will consult his coleagues to consider ways to incorporate them in our sci-fi movie.
Apart from that, Matej will visit me at TRIUMF lab in Vancouver next month to see the lab, take pictures of the DRAGON facility and some short videos. He might use them for the planetarium show, or other future projects.
The experiment that will be running at that time will be 15O(α,γ)19Ne. 15O is the beam and 19Ne is the nucleus will be synthesized. 15O has 8 protons and 7 neutrons (thus the 15, which is its mass number). The “common” oxygen is 16O, with 8 protons and 8 neutrons and 99.762% of all oxygen atoms on Earth are like that. 15O is an unstable isotope, meaning that it cannot stay that way for long. It decays into 15N, by converting one proton into a neutron, a positron (positive electron) and a neutrino. For how long it will remain like that before decaying is called mean lifetime and it’s a statistical quantity. If we had 100 15O atoms, we would had only 50 in approximately 2 minutes! Now imagine that we create a beam of these atoms, thousands and thousands of them! These radioactive ion beams, like 15O, consist one of the huge advances of nuclear science in the late 1980’s. TRIUMF is one of the few radiactive beam facilities worldwide and the only one in Canada.
The 15O(α,γ)19Ne reaction is believed to occur in massive red stars, like Betelgeuse, the brightest star of the Orion constellation. Reactions like this one are critical to understand how stars produce energy and how they create the chemical elements.
Betelgeuse, the brightest star of the Orion constellation (left). An image taken from the ALMA telescope (right)
I am extremely happy that Matej will make that trip! It will be a great experience for him and a great opportunity for us to disseminate our research with the public. As I’ve already mentioned in previous blogs, art is the best way to convey ideas and feelings to people.