Magnet's Mississippi Journey Delayed by 1 Week

Rain delay. The Muon g-2 storage ring is staying at Brookhaven an extra week due to inclement weather.

Brookhaven National Laboratory

As we report in this week's issue of Science, a physics experiment known as Muon g-2 is getting a new start by moving from Brookhaven National Laboratory in Upton, New York, to the Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory (Fermilab) in Batavia, Illinois. Physicists and engineers had planned to begin moving the experiment's delicate storage ring by truck and barge this weekend, but the move has been delayed by 1 week due to inclement weather in New York.

The Brookhaven area experienced heavy rain and strong winds yesterday and this morning, forcing the scientists and their collaborators at Emmert International, a heavy haul transportation company, to halt their work for 2 days. The weather "wouldn't allow them to do the work they needed to do to get [the ring] ready to go," forcing them to push back the departure date from Sunday, 16 June, to Saturday, 22 June, Peter Genzer, a Brookhaven spokesperson, tells ScienceInsider.

Now, the 15-meter storage ring will make its way across the Brookhaven campus next Saturday, travel by truck down the William Floyd Parkway overnight on Sunday, and arrive at the Smith Point Marina on Long Island's southern shore in the wee hours of Monday, 24 June 24. From there, it will be loaded onto a waiting barge and undertake a 5000-kilometer journey down the Eastern Seaboard, around Florida, across the Gulf of Mexico, and up the Mississippi River to Illinois. It will arrive at Fermilab 4 to 6 weeks after it leaves New York.

This isn't the first time that the weather has interfered with Muon g-2's best laid plans. The ring was originally supposed to set sail from Long Island's northern shore, but the port the team planned to use was damaged by Hurricane Sandy last fall. With many months to spare, the team rerouted the ring to the island's southern shore.

Muon g-2 is designed to precisely measure the muon's magnetic moment in order to see if the result agrees with the standard model's prediction. If it doesn't—as the experiment's first run at Brookhaven suggested—it could be a sign of new physics. Read more about Muon g-2's move here, and track its journey here.