Three national laboratories achieve record magnetic field for accelerator focusing magnet

In a multiyear effort involving three national laboratories from across the United States, researchers have successfully built and tested a powerful new magnet based on an advanced superconducting material. The eight-ton device — about as long as a semi-truck trailer — set a record for the highest field strength ever recorded for an accelerator focusing magnet and raises the standard for magnets operating in high-energy particle colliders. The Department of Energy’s Fermilab, Brookhaven National Laboratory and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory designed, built and tested the new magnet, one of 16 they will provide for operation in the  High-Luminosity Large Hadron Collider at CERN laboratory in Europe. The 16 magnets, along with another eight produced by CERN, serve as “optics” for charged particles: They will focus beams of protons into a tiny, infinitesimal spot as they approach collision inside two different particle detectors. The ingredient that sets these U.S.-produced magnets apart is niobium-tin – a superconducting material that produces strong magnetic fields. These will be the first niobium-tin quadrupole magnets ever to operate in a particle accelerator. The ingred...

On July 9, at 1pm Central time, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit

On July 9, at 1pm Central time, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit will hear oral argument in Texas v. United States, the latest effort to have the Affordable Care Act struck down in federal court. The panel hearing the case (announced this morning) consists of Senior Judge Carolyn Dineen King, Judge Jennifer Walker Elrod, and Judge Kurt D. Englehardt. Audio of the oral argument should be posted later that afternoon. Many commentators have evaluated this case through a partisan prism, assuming that the best way to predict the outcome is simply by looking at the partisan affiliation of the Presidents who nominated the judges. I think this is mistaken for multiple reasons. First, unlike the prior ACA cases to reach the Supreme Court, the underlying arguments advanced by the plaintiffs are not well grounded in conservative jurisprudential principles. Whereas the arguments in NFIB and King were rooted in aggressive enumerated powers and textualist jurisprudence, the arguments here actually cut against traditional conservative approaches to justiciability (standing in particular) and severability. As a consequence, there is less fertile ground in which the case can take ...