Daniel Bowring helps spark new designs for accelerators
||Daniel Bowring stands next to a magnet
in the MuCool Test Area at Fermilab. Photo: Yagmur Torun, APC
Daniel Bowring once considered himself a traveling scientist. He's worked at two national labs almost 3,000 miles apart on separate coasts. Now, Bowring calls DOE's Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory home.
The time wandering was well-spent, he said. His college, graduate and postdoctoral experiences at Berkeley Lab and Jefferson Lab helped him realize where he fit in the physics community — accelerator science.
Bowring was awarded a Peoples Fellowship last year, a position for promising early-career accelerator researchers. He began work at Fermilab in October 2013.
The fellowship gives him the chance to develop new particle accelerator technology. Some days, Bowring types away at a keyboard and churns through computer simulations. On other days, he tinkers with gadgets.
"I really enjoy both messing with math and swinging a wrench," Bowring said.
His current research interest lies in normal conducting accelerator cavities. These are hollow copper structures used in accelerators to speed up particles.
Right now, Bowring is trying to solve both a physics and an engineering puzzle. In accelerators, the cavities first speed up the particles, and then magnets focus and steer them. Bowring is working on designs for accelerators that require operating the cavities inside strong magnets, so speeding up and focusing particles occurs all at once.
The cavities are powered by electric fields that oscillate at radio frequencies, and a big challenge is radiofrequency breakdown. This happens when the cavity voltage collapses, causing sparks roughly resembling lightning strikes. The sparks leave craters and pits on the surface of the copper cavity. And when you place the cavity within a strong magnetic field, you get even more sparks.