Friday, March 27, 2009


It looks like we may soon have a staff list together. After some business paperwork is finished, I'll see if I can post some links to who we've got together.

In the meantime, it seems as though we'll be presenting a talk in October at MS&T in Pittsburgh about low- to medium-energy particle accelerators and their applications in the Materials Science and Biomedical/Biophysics fields. We'll have a link to the abstract here once it is accepted by the conference committee.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Getting Somewhere

We are moving ahead.

Currently, we are working on the plans for renovating the buildings that are on site. We're working with the borough to try to get zoning changes made as needed, and will shortly be moving ahead with the safety systems and procedures design process.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

AIAP Founding

In 1937, the Westinghouse Corporation built a magnificent structure on top of a hill in Forest Hills, a suburb of Pittsburgh. The Westinghouse "Atom Smasher" was the first industrial particle accelerator in the world. At a height of 47 feet, and an acceleration potential of more than 5 million Volts, the accelerator was first used to strip the electrons from Hydrogen, and shoot the naked protons at over 100 million miles per hour into various metal targets. It was through this process that it was discovered that photo-fission, the splitting of an atom by way of hitting it with extremely energetic light known as gamma rays, was possible. This discovery, along with others, propelled Westinghouse into the Nuclear Age. From the discoveries atop this hill, the Manhattan Project gained insight and momentum, and modern particle physics began.

In the 1980s, the accelerator and its attached facility were vacated. It sits, unpowered and decaying, to this day. In 1985, the IEEE, an international professional society of Electrical Engineers, designated the structure one of the 50 most important Electrical Engineering Milestones in the world. In 2000, the Pittsburgh History & Landmarks Foundation designated it as a local historic landmark.

In January of 2009, AIAP was incorporated with the specific goal in mind of acquiring and refurbishing the accelerator, so it could be used for modern scientific experiments and education. Working with Carnegie Mellon University, the University of Pittsburgh, the Pittsburgh History & Landmarks Foundation, the Heinz History Center, Brookhaven National Laboratory, the Borough of Forest Hills, and the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission, we are working on a plan to restore the property, create jobs in the community, and advance human knowledge.

Check back here often for more updates as the rehabilitation of this storied building commences.

Photo Credit: IEEE Pittsburgh Section