Story and photo by Vincent Schilling
physicist and deputy project manager, Jefferson Lab
GETTING TO KNOW YOU
It's not every day you run into someone who throws around terms like "cryogenic helium," "cavity string" and "cryomodule hardware." But it's just another day at work for Allison Lung, a physicist and deputy project manager for the $310 million upgrade at the Thomas Jefferson National Accelerator Facility - better known as Jefferson Lab - in Newport News.
Originally trained as an experimental physicist at JLab, Lung was pulled into managing the 12 giga-electronvolt Continuous Electron Beam Accelerator Facility upgrade. It's a massive undertaking, doubling the power of the lab's electron beam accelerator, improving equipment in three existing halls and creating a fourth hall to study quark containment, not to mention "doubling the largest helium refrigerator in the world," as she puts it.
Answering questions about her work are no sweat for Lung - in fact, her work is all about questions.
"What I like best is that no two days are exactly the same for a physicist or for a construction manager at work at Jefferson Lab," she said. "Physics is the best career possible because you never run out of questions. Each answer leads to a better understanding of our world, which enables us to ask even better questions."
Here, Lung is standing in front of machinery called a cavity string, which was to be mounted inside a cryomodule and installed in the underground accelerator tunnel - all part of the equipment that allows scientists at the lab to accelerate electrons to nearly the speed of light and use that electron probe to study the building blocks of matter.