More than 2,000 visitors at the ALBA Open Day

By . Published on 19 June 2017 in:
June 2017, News, , , ,

This event, held for the 6th year in a row, gathered 2,194 people on Saturday 20th May 2017 at the ALBA Synchrotron, the Spanish synchrotron light source.

The ALBA Open Day, organised every year by the ALBA Synchrotron, was again a full success. From 9:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. more than 2,000 people visited ALBA’s facilities to have a better knowledge of its characteristic and functions.

The event followed an itinerary composed of different areas of exhibition and demonstration. The visitors were able to see the devices where the electrons pass through or those used for manipulating the synchrotron light, as well as to observe the interior of the accelerator’s tunnel which was opened on that occasion. Fun demonstrations were organised to allow visitors to know more about concepts like vacuum or pressure, microscopy or spectroscopy. New this year were an accelerator mock-up, done with Lego bricks, and a demonstration about infrared where a thermographic camera was used (the same used for analysing some components of the facility). Once more, kids could enjoy their own area where they could follow a treasure hunt around the facility and a drawing contest for finding a new logotype for LOREA, one of the beamlines that ALBA is currently building. At the end of the itinerary, the music band “The Cat-Eyes”, composed of members of the ALBA staff, explained how a synchrotron works with their music. In addition, three conferences were given about particle accelerators (Caterina Biscari, director of ALBA), applications of synchrotron light in medicine (Manel Sabés, professor at the UAB and user and collaborator of ALBA) and an introduction to X-ray crystallography (Albert Castellví, PhD student at ALBA).

With the involvement of the staff

ABLA Open Day
ABLA Open Day

The ALBA Open Day was held thanks to the contribution of half of the ALBA staff. More than 100 volunteers helped in the coordination of the event and also provided explanations and information for the visitors. A group of students who are doing internships in the facility also took part in the event.

It is also worth mentioning the support from Civil Protection, who generously offered their experience during the whole day.

ABLA Open Day
ABLA Open Day

“The ALBA Open Day is an event full of energy, enthusiasm and professionalism. The general public would not know about our research without the generosity and dedication of the staff, making it possible to spread this message and transmit the importance of science in our society”, according to Caterina Biscari.

On-line followers

The visitors were very active at Twitter and Instagram, uploading images and comments followed by the hashtag #ALBAOpenDay, that were visible in the different monitors placed in the building.

An audio guide in Spanish and Catalan was also very popular among visitors, offering complementary information to the visit.

The ALBA Synchrotron has developed an outreach program, which includes the organisation of the ALBA Open Day as well as guided tours inside the facility. Both activities welcome more than 6,500 visitors every year.

The ALBA Open Day was organised with the support of the Spanish Foundation for Science and Technology (FECYT), La Caixa Foundation, the Spanish Ministry of Economy and Competitiveness and the Catalan Government.

The ALBA Synchrotron

ALBA is the Spanish synchrotron light source. It is a complex of electron accelerators to produce synchrotron light, which allows visualisation and analysis of matter and its properties at atomic and molecular levels.

ALBA has been in operation since May 2012 and has eight beamlines which are able to perform experiments in different scientific fields such as physics, chemistry, life sciences, materials science, cultural heritage, biology and nanotechnology. Three additional beamlines are under construction.

This scientific infrastructure produces about 6,000 hours of beamtime per year and is available for the academic and the industrial sector to give service to more than 1,300 researchers every year.

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