DIY at the Columbia Physics Design Lab


Those elements have included matters like convert-desk stands to analyze the quantum houses of atom-skinny sheets, flanges for ultracold vacuum chambers destined to home quantum products for imaging and manipulations, and components for new laser setups. “It’s typically a whole lot of extremely small items to very complicated, extremely interesting programs,” reported Clara Wilson, a employees engineer who joined Columbia final 12 months from JILA to assistance re-invent the house. 

For a lot of the 20th century, researchers experienced to make just about all the things for their experiments them selves, Columbia physicist Cory Dean explained, so college equipment, woodworking, and even electrical retailers had been the norm. But more than time, industrial vendors began popping up to offer specialized sections and parts, and college aid grew to become a lot less widespread. 

Pupin Hall managed a shop exactly where a machinist would even now make elements to order, but a new generation of physicists at Columbia—including Dean—wanted to acquire the process into their personal hands. “To aid fashionable physics we need an on-web page area to build, overseen by a expert individual who can offer the tools and direction to assist us understand fully novel thoughts,” Dean explained. “The Layout Lab will perform a essential job in the long run of physics at Columbia.”

Today, Pupin Corridor, Room 1111 is a collaborative makerspace where by users come together to brainstorm tips with just about every other and Wilson to examine how finest to employ them on the various equipment obtainable.

The equipment operates the gamut from chopping-edge, such as a trio of 3D printers and a recently mounted laser cutter, to age-aged standbys like significant iron mills and drill presses. The oldest piece of gear is a band noticed relationship back again to the 1950s, while Wilson’s favorites are the lathes from the 1960s that still function correctly after all all those a long time. “Plus, they are painted a genuinely wonderful Columbia blue. I never know who did that or when, but it provides a great contact,” she mentioned. 


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