Observing the World of Particles
The Bubble Chamber 3:5 The Bubble Chamber 4:5 »

The Bubble Chamber

A 30 Year Epoque

The BEBC chamber body. A superconducting coil gave a 3.5 Tesla magnetic field over the 3.7 m long 35 m3 chamber. Notice that the active chamber volume only constitutes a small part of the overall installation.


Glasers' invention was the starting point of a 30 year long bubble chamber epoque at the accelerator laboratories around the world. The lead was taken by Luis Alvarez' group at Berkeley and already in 1959 a 180 cm long hydrogen filled bubble chamber, that with its cryogenic equipment, magnet and support structures filled an entire building, came into operation. With this bubble chamber particles from the Berkeley 6 GeV proton accelerator, the Bevatron, could be studied. The liquid hydrogen was kept at a temperature of 26 K (-247oC) and at an overpressure of about 4 atmospheres. There was a magnetic field in the chamber and the curvature of a particle track reveals charge and momentum of the particle.

The two largest bubble chamber ever constructed was one at Fermilab outside Chicago and BEBC (Big European Bubble Chamber) at CERN in Geneva, both over 3 meters long. Not only hydrogen with free protons was used as filling liquid, but also heavier material like propane and xenon were used to study interactions in nuclei.


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 The Nobel Prize in Physics 1960 - Donald Arthur Glaser  »  The Nobel Prize in Physics 1968 - Luis Walter Alvarez  » Fermilab  »

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