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PARTICLE ACCELERATOR OPERATOR: Creating Light With The Acceleration Of Electrons

About this video 

David, a particle accelerator operator, discovered his job when he took a tour of the Synchrotron Light Source facilities while in university. His job entails monitoring the accelerators and fixing the machines when an issue comes up. Here, he tells us about what particle accelerators do; he tells us that the accelerators at Light Source creates light brighter than the sun by making electrons move at near light speed.

Degree: Physics
Job Title: Particle Accelerator Operator
Employer: Synchrotron Light Source

Job Summary: Physicists

Job Description

Physicists and astronomers study the fundamental nature of the universe, ranging from the vastness of space to the smallest of subatomic particles. They develop new technologies, methods, and theories based on the results of their research that deepen our understanding of how things work and contribute to innovative, real-world applications.

On-the-Job Training


Additional Info

Many physics and astronomy Ph.D. holders begin their careers in a temporary postdoctoral research position, which typically lasts 2 to 3 years. During their postdoctoral appointment, they work with experienced scientists as they continue to learn about their specialties or develop a broader understanding of related areas of research. Their initial work may be carefully supervised by senior scientists, but as they gain experience, they do more complex tasks and have greater independence in their work.

Quick Facts

Average salary
Average salary
National Statistic Change Location
$60,000 - $170,000
Projected job growth
Projected Job Growth
10 to 20 percent
Typical schedule
Typical schedule
Typical workplace
Typical workplace
Military, Indoor, Office, Travel
Personal qualities
Personal Qualities
Analytical skills, Problem solving skills, Verbal communication skills, Written communication skills, Mathematical skills, Detail oriented

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P3.instances[0].transcript.parse_transcript_data({"transcript":"<p><span m='480'>Hi,</span> <span m='670'>I'm</span> <span m='870'>David.</span> <span m='1355'>I am a</span> <span m='1840'>particle</span> <span m='2190'>accelerator</span> <span m='2770'>operator</span> <span m='3480'>at</span> <span m='3810'>a</span> <span m='3970'>light</span> <span m='4240'>source.</span> <span m='6011'>A</span> <span m='6450'>particle</span> <span m='6810'>accelerator</span> <span m='7115'>is</span> <span m='7420'>something</span> <span m='7780'>that</span> <span m='8240'>makes</span> <span m='8674'>electrons</span> <span m='9108'>go around</span> <span m='9542'>in near</span> <span m='9976'>the speed of</span> <span m='10410'>light.</span> <span m='11210'>Most</span> <span m='11580'>accelerators</span> <span m='11950'>smash</span> <span m='12320'>stuff</span> <span m='12722'>together</span> <span m='13526'>to see</span> <span m='13928'>what's</span> <span m='14330'>inside,</span> <span m='14585'>but</span> <span m='14840'>ours</span> <span m='14940'>creates</span> <span m='15910'>light,</span> <span m='16380'>a billion times</span> <span m='16850'>the brightness</span> <span m='17270'>of the sun.</span> <span m='17690'>And</span> <span m='18380'>these</span> <span m='18560'>add</span> <span m='18720'>light</span> <span m='19010'>for</span> <span m='19080'>different</span> <span m='19420'>types</span> <span m='19860'>of experiments.</span> </p><p><span m='20740'>So</span> <span m='20920'>my</span> <span m='21140'>job</span> <span m='21500'>is</span> <span m='21650'>to</span> <span m='22030'>monitor</span> <span m='23860'>the</span> <span m='24350'>accelerator</span> <span m='24840'>and make sure that</span> <span m='25330'>the electrons</span> <span m='25820'>are going around</span> <span m='26310'>properly.</span> <span m='28270'>And</span> <span m='28760'>oftentimes,</span> <span m='29250'>what</span> <span m='29740'>I'm really</span> <span m='30230'>here for</span> <span m='30720'>is if the beam</span> <span m='31210'>dumps,</span> <span m='31700'>which means</span> <span m='32190'>the particles</span> <span m='32680'>kind of</span> <span m='33170'>scatter</span> <span m='33660'>out of the</span> <span m='34150'>machine.</span> <span m='35150'>And</span> <span m='35810'>there's</span> <span m='36050'>1,000,</span> <span m='36515'>or</span> <span m='36980'>thousands</span> <span m='37460'>of</span> <span m='37940'>different</span> <span m='38900'>components</span> <span m='39860'>that kind of</span> <span m='40340'>make</span> <span m='40820'>the</span> <span m='41300'>machine</span> <span m='41780'>operate.</span> <span m='42260'>And if</span> <span m='42740'>just one of those</span> <span m='43220'>breaks,</span> <span m='43700'>then</span> <span m='44660'>the</span> <span m='45140'>particles</span> <span m='45620'>fly out of</span> <span m='46100'>the machine.</span> </p><p><span m='47060'>So</span> <span m='47710'>a</span> <span m='47810'>large</span> <span m='48040'>part</span> <span m='48220'>of</span> <span m='48270'>my</span> <span m='48430'>job</span> <span m='48700'>is</span> <span m='48850'>figuring</span> <span m='49080'>out</span> <span m='49350'>what</span> <span m='49680'>one</span> <span m='49870'>thing</span> <span m='50570'>of those</span> <span m='51051'>thousands</span> <span m='51532'>break</span> <span m='52013'>and to</span> <span m='52975'>get</span> <span m='53456'>someone</span> <span m='53937'>to go out and</span> <span m='54418'>fix it if I</span> <span m='54899'>can't fix it</span> <span m='55380'>myself.</span> <span m='56823'>So</span> <span m='57310'>I</span> <span m='57330'>went</span> <span m='57560'>to</span> <span m='57870'>junior</span> <span m='58180'>college</span> <span m='58540'>and</span> <span m='58880'>transferred</span> <span m='59828'>and was</span> <span m='60302'>going to</span> <span m='60776'>major in</span> <span m='61250'>philosophy.</span> <span m='61724'>And I</span> <span m='62198'>switched</span> <span m='62672'>my major</span> <span m='63146'>to physics</span> <span m='63620'>because I thought</span> <span m='64094'>it was a little bit</span> <span m='64568'>more interesting.</span> <span m='66950'>While</span> <span m='67200'>I</span> <span m='67290'>was</span> <span m='67510'>in</span> <span m='67640'>school,</span> <span m='68060'>I</span> <span m='68547'>took</span> <span m='69034'>a tour</span> <span m='69521'>of this actual</span> <span m='70008'>facility</span> <span m='70982'>and thought</span> <span m='71469'>it was a</span> <span m='71956'>cool place.</span> <span m='72930'>After</span> <span m='73417'>college,</span> <span m='73904'>I taught</span> <span m='74391'>a year of high</span> <span m='74878'>school math.</span> <span m='75852'>I</span> <span m='76339'>didn't care</span> <span m='76826'>for that too</span> <span m='77313'>much,</span> <span m='77800'>so I got</span> <span m='78287'>a job here</span> <span m='78774'>at the lab,</span> <span m='79261'>running</span> <span m='79748'>this</span> <span m='80235'>machine.</span> </p><p><span m='81209'>Well,</span> <span m='81720'>my</span> <span m='81900'>advice</span> <span m='82220'>would be</span> <span m='82360'>to</span> <span m='82680'>find</span> <span m='82980'>something</span> <span m='83280'>that you're</span> <span m='83580'>really interested</span> <span m='83880'>in,</span> <span m='84180'>and</span> <span m='84780'>the more</span> <span m='85080'>difficult,</span> <span m='85380'>the</span> <span m='85680'>better.</span> <span m='85980'>I think</span> <span m='86280'>the</span> <span m='86580'>more</span> <span m='86880'>difficult,</span> <span m='87180'>it</span> <span m='88080'>gives you</span> <span m='88380'>more</span> <span m='88680'>options.</span> <span m='88980'>I</span> <span m='89280'>think</span> <span m='89580'>it'll</span> <span m='89880'>be more</span> <span m='90180'>interesting.</span> <span m='90780'>And</span> <span m='91080'>it gives</span> <span m='91380'>you,</span> <span m='92280'>I don't know.</span> <span m='92880'>I think</span> <span m='93180'>you'll</span> <span m='93480'>be a lot</span> <span m='93780'>happier</span> <span m='94080'>with the job</span> <span m='94380'>you</span> <span m='94680'>end up</span> <span m='94980'>getting.</span> </p>","file":{"id":255756,"video_id":"2698985266001","name":"69652426","duration":96512,"thumbnail_url":null}});