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Question:
If a piece of iron would get into a particle accelerator would it be ripped apart by the magnets into individual atoms



Replies:
No - actually the magnets really are not all that strong in particle accelerators - they put humans inside magnets of about the same strength to do MRI measurements, for instance!

At the very start of a particle accelerator there is an oven or gas source of some sort that produces the original particles, and they are initially accelerated using strong electric fields, not magnetic ones. The magnets only kick in once the particles are already moving at several million volts worth of energy, which is about as far as you can get with straight electrical fields. Actually, it is not really magnets that do the accelerating, but certain microwave cavities called klystrons and similar strange names.

Arthur Smith



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