Sudbury Neutrino Lab (SNO Lab)

IMG 0724  It is far up north where eating on real plates is a novelty... (joking of coures - Sudbury is fairly civilized). IMG 0922  Drove to Sudbury where in an active mine, an inactive shaft was designated to setup a world class, ultra clean, lab for detecting the hugely elusive neutrinos and HOPEFULLY, one day, dark matter. IMG 0727  There are 3 main experiments running.  Two are looking for light generated by neutrinos interacting in a fluid filled giant acrylic ball. IMG 0899  The few fortunate people (from the Toronto Royal Astronomical Society of Canada) to see what professional scientists are doing in the world class lab (Sudbury Neutrino Observatory aka SNO).
IMG 0731  It is located in an active mine, 2 km below the surface. Elevator ride took a few minutes (stopping on the way down to drop off miners going to work). IMG 0744  It is a few hundred meters walk to the lab's sealed entrance.  It is hot  (over 30C) and smells like sulfur. IMG 0735  In order for the experiments to work, the air inside the lab has to be ultra clean.  Any dust is slightly radioactive and it will throw off the measuring devices running inside the lab. IMG 0745  So you must pack your belongings into a plastic bag and leave it at the entrance (see light reflection pointing at the only entrance).
IMG 0897  The (only) entrance to the lab. IMG 0751  At entry point, you must undress, take a shower (to get rid of any remaining dust) and put on a jump suit. Wait for others to arrive/snack. IMG 0747  You can tell the damn tourists (that's myself included of course) from the workers by their characteristic white jump suit.  Real scientists wear blue. IMG 0753  Everything going in must be packed in plastic bags, then unwrapped in a holding area and decontaminated before entering the lab.
IMG 0754  There are sticky mats in various places to trap any shoe dust/dirt that may still make it. IMG 6769  Just to make sure there is no dust.  One more hoop to jump through.  Air shower to blow any remaining loose dust. IMG 6817  Judging by the white suits and the camera - these indeed are  tourists again.  We are very fortunate to be on this tour - the number of visitors is very limited. IMG 0755  There are pipes and cables and ducts and pipes and cables, and more cables... all must be dust free.
Picasa  Just barely visible are the light sensor wirings stuck around the acrylic sphere. IMG 0777  There was active maintenance on it and no entry was allowed to see the sphere from the bottom. So that is how it looked like at the time via webcam. IMG 0787  My wife Magdalena, holding the wrench used to tighten the bolts holding the 10 m diameter sphere suspended in a giant cavern. IMG 0792  One of the 10,000 sensors next to our guide (awesome, friendly, very knowledgable Physics graduate).
Picasa  The sides of most walls were concrete sprayed, smoothed and painted with many coats of paint. Covered with concrete and painted to limit the dust coming from oose rock.  Smooth to make it easy to clean (yes, it is occasionally dusted - and you thought your house was a chore).