Why does an electrical discharge, such as lightning, have a branching pattern? Why is not the pattern in a plasma ball spherically symmetric because of the spherically symmetric electric field inside?
Professor Donald Kerst built the world's first magnetic induction accelerator at the University of Illinois in 1940. After the new machine was referred to variously as a "rheotron," an "inductron," a "Super-X-Ray Machine," and a "cosmic ray machine" in early press releases, a departmental contest was held to name it.
"Ausserordentlichhochgeschwindigkeitelektronenentwickelndenschwerarbeitsbeigollitron" was one of the more original entries. Kerst settled on "betatron." The original betatron is now on display at the Smithsonian Institution.
In 1950, a 300-MeV betatron, more powerful than that called for in the original design, goes online in its own new building on the corner of Stadium Drive and Oak Street. New staff members are recruited to exploit this major new facility, including Giulio Ascoli, Gilberto Bernardini, and Edwin Goldwasser.
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