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Jefferson Lab Open House is Saturday

Jefferson Lab, the U.S. Department of Energy's accelerator facility in Newport News, will give the public a rare opportunity to visit its high-technology compound on Saturday, May 1.

The Celebration of Science Open House, with visitors invited to arrive between 9 a.m. and 2 p.m., will throw open the most of the laboratory doors and allow access to the scientists and technical staff who work on or run experiments.

Visitors will learn about the $310 million upgrade project underway at the laboratory that will allow staff and visiting scientists to continue pursuing leading-edge nuclear physics research. The upgrade is to the facility's primary instrument, a mile-long electron accelerator.

Jefferson Lab's last open house was in April 2007.

In addition to highlighting the latest research and technology developments at Jefferson Lab, the event will include a variety of hands-on, science-education oriented activities for the young and young-at-heart, provided by Jefferson Lab, Old Dominion University and other local institutions and organizations. ODU researchers compose one of the largest contingents of experimental nuclear physicists who work at Jefferson Lab.

The open house is free and will be held rain or shine. Free parking will be at Canon Virginia complex located at 12000 Canon Boulevard, in the Oyster Point area of Newport News. Event parking signs will direct visitors onto Old Oyster Point Road to access the Canon Virginia parking lot.

Although no visitors can enter after 2 p.m., those already on the premises can stay until 4 p.m. Free charter buses will transport visitors between the parking lot and Jefferson Lab (about a 4-minute bus ride) from 9 a.m. - 2 p.m. From 2-4 p.m. the buses will only return visitors to the Canon parking lot.

Students under 16 must be accompanied by an adult. Security and ID checks will be conducted by officers before visitors board the bus.

The event is spread over several buildings and requires walking. Seeing the accelerator requires taking multiple flights of concrete stairs. Seeing an experiment area requires walking down and back up an inclined truck ramp. Due to construction work underway in some areas, visitors will be walking on gravel or dirt surfaces instead of pavement.

Visitors are advised to wear sturdy, comfortable walking shoes and sunscreen or a rimmed hat and protective clothing. Shuttle buses will be available to carry visitors between many of the tour stops. Marked areas may be traveled on foot.

For details, visit www.jlab.org/openhouse/. Most of the facilities are handicap accessible, and handicap and group parking will be available at Jefferson Lab. For additional information, and to reserve parking for handicap visitors and bus groups, contact Michelle Lechman, Jefferson Lab Public Affairs, at 757-269-7617 or e-mail lechman@jlab.org.

Vendors will be selling light refreshments.

This article was posted on: April 26, 2010

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