Iowa State University

Inside Iowa State
July 17, 1998

Mission: (It's possible)

by Linda Charles

Researchers at Iowa State who need a special piece of equipment turn to the R&D Engineering Services Group at Ames Laboratory for help. This small team, led by Del Bluhm, specializes in both electronic and mechanical services, designing, fabricating and repairing everything from computer boards to instruments so large they have to be assembled outside the shop.

While the group's purpose is to meet the needs of Ames Laboratory scientists, its services are available to anyone, on or off campus, needing unique services not available commercially.

This versatile group last year recreated a full-scale, working replica of the first digital computer (the Atanasoff- Berry Computer, currently on display at the State Historical Society). Today, the group is building a hardware trigger for the PHENIX detector, a system for detecting subatomic particles in a new accelerator under construction at Brookhaven National Laboratory, Long Island. Scientists throughout the world are collaborating on the PHENIX project, which is intended to recreate a form of matter that existed for less than a thousandth of a second after the "big bang."

The group is located in 158 Metals Development.

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