ESS (European Spallation Source) is a proposed state-of-the-art research facility to be built in Lund, Sweden. The overall aim is to blast neutrons at things via a linear accelerator in order to figure out what’s going on at the atomic level in various materials which we like to use for technology, medicine, packaging, etc.
What it is:
<@> European: the project is initiated and funded by the EU. The EU is trying to catch up with the USA and Japan, which already have similar facilities under construction.
<@> Spallation: a process used for getting a bunch of neutrons free. In spallation, they actually shoot protons at heavy metals such as lead, mercury or tantalum. This causes the metals to spew neutrons. Then the neutrons are used to penetrate the objects of study.
<@> Source: straight to the source, man! It’s all going down in Lund.
So, the site chosen for the facility happens to be right along my favorite inline skating route. I travel the route most days (now that the weather is suitable) and my imagination tends to fill in laboratories and manicured lawns where there are now fields. I must say that simply the thought of the facility is accelerating my own linear movement, though I’ll not be a match for a little proton traveling the same route once the accelerator is functional.
A series of buildings and the accelerator are set to be built along a strip of land spanning the gap between a highway and a parallel country road (my skating route). The site starts at the Northeast tip of town and jettisons out in the same direction for a couple kilometers or so. I imagine the plan must have been in the works for some time, as a good swath of seemingly prime real estate has been lying underutilized. On the site currently are fields, a ruin of an old youth hostel and farm, and 4-ish nice homesteads, which will have to come down. Here’s a preliminary map of the site thanks to the Skåne Regional Development Department.