Upper School Science Students Tour Argonne

by Caitlin Landau ’18

When we got to Argonne National Laboratory, our group first went to the Advanced Photon Source. They described how the source has changed to find better and more efficient methods. We were able to walk through the building and see how they were using x-rays to discover new things. Then we went to a different building where they researched new ways to treat illnesses. After that we went to the Computing Facility. They use a supercomputer to simulate data, which gets sent to a large screen in a different room where they can view graphics. One example that we were shown was of dark matter in the universe. They had to use a fairly zoomed out scale in order to fit all of the data. We were also shown that they were developing a new way to interact with the data on the screen without having to recompute everything.

Another tool that they are using is virtual reality. We were allowed to walk into the room with the supercomputer and saw the inside of one of the racks. We were led around by Professor Rick Stevens, and he answered our questions about the work they do with the supercomputer. It was an incredible experience and everyone had a lot of fun. My favorite part of the trip was seeing the supercomputer. It really isn't anything fancy on the outside, but everything it can do is amazing.
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