Legacies of NTU - No. 4
Asia's First Linear Particle Accelerator - NTU Heritage Hall of Physics
The linear particle accelerator occupying the NTU Heritage Hall of Physics is not just the museum's most treasured exhibit, it could even be said to be the museum's raison d'etre, for without it NTU's physics museum might not have come to be.
Our accelerator's story begins in 1932, when the Cockcroft-Walton Linear Accelerator was built at the University of Cambridge's Cavendish Laboratory and carried out the first bombardment of an atomic nucleus in history. Two years later, Japanese physicist Arakatsu Bunsaku, who had studied at Cavendish, began working here at NTU's predecessor, Taihoku Imperial University. Prof. Arakatsu, backed by his Japanese and Taiwanese students, brought our accelerator into being by constructing Asia's first Cockcroft-Walton Linear Accelerator. That same year, Arakatsu employed the accelerator to conduct the first artificial nuclear disintegration in Asia here on this very campus.
In the aftermath of World War II, after the university had been reorganized as NTU, Prof. Yuin-Kwei Tai, the first chair of the NTU Department of Physics, rebuilt the accelerator and repeated Arakatsu's experiment in 1948.
The accelerator was decommissioned in 1985, but its major parts were kept in storage. Then, in 2004, the Department of Physics rediscovered the decommissioned accelerator. This fortuitous find inspired the department to renovate and rearrange the accelerator's old laboratory into an exhibition space, which opened as the NTU Heritage Hall of Physics in November 2005.
Visit the NTU Heritage Hall of Physics Facebook page or click HERE to access original article written by the Heritage Hall of Physics (03/19/2014).
This article is also featured in the April issue of NTU Newsletter.
National Taiwan University is home to an abundance of educational and cultural artifacts that bear the history of the campus’ past. As a result, the NTU Museums project, a campaign that integrates the university’s ten individual museums, was launched in 2005 and officially inaugurated in 2007 so that the school’s hidden treasures could be introduced to the public. To honor the school’s past, the “Legacies of NTU” series will feature the stories of NTU’s hidden treasures by taking you through the most precious items among the university’s collection.