EAST LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) – Today, Michigan State University cut the ribbon on a powerful new tool to advance our understanding of science and physics, opening the doors to the new facility for rare isotope beams.

Samuel L. Stanley Jr., the president of MSU, and several Michigan politicians even came out to the ribbon cutting.

But why?

Professor of Physics Artemis Spyrou discussed the importance of this new facility.

“When we try to understand how the stars evolve, how they explode, how they produce the elements that we see around us which are all produced inside stars, we know that all these stellar processes are fueled by nuclei and nuclei reactions,” she said.

Spyrou says in order to study the isotopes, they have to use certain technology which has been developed at MSU for this specific purpose. But after this, what comes next?

“You always start with something that you can find naturally on Earth. Uranium, oxygen, carbon, anything that we can find,” said Spyrou.

And the accelerator that is most powerful in the world?

“It’s getting what we can find and making it go about half the speed of light, meaning they would go around the earth twice in one second that how fast they go. Once you make them go that fast, then you have them heat on a target material. So they break into pieces, and out of all the pieces that are coming out. Some of them are these new rare isotopes that we’ve never seen before,” Spyrou stated, describing the process of fragmentation.

And then they use magnets to isolate the isotopes they’re interested in studying. But how will this impact us all?

“It’s hard to predict exactly how a new facility will change our lives down the road in 20 years. But experience has shown that it does change our lives,” she said.

Spyrou says nuclear facilities of the past gave the world pet scanners and MRIs.

“But with all of this discovery potential that (the Facility for Rare Isotope Beams) passes, we will definitely expect new applications in society to come,” she concluded.