The European Synchrotron works like a giant microscope: it allows us to see inside everything around us, down to the tiniest speck of dust. Each year, more than 6 500 scientists from all over the world come to the ESRF and carry out experiments day and night in this laboratory.
Around us, there are tiny invisible particles that we can’t see: they are called atoms. They make up matter, for example the sand on the beach, the water in the sea, the concrete in buildings, the leaves on the trees or the cells in our bodies. The tiniest speck of dust contains millions of them.
In order to see them, scientists have built a huge microscope, called a synchrotron.
When you use a microscope you need a light to be able to see what you are studying. The synchrotron being a giant microscope, it needs a lot of light! But how can you produce it? Researchers built this machine which looks like a giant doughnut and it produces an amazing light, the most intense in the world. Thanks to this light, we can see the atoms inside the objects.
Do you want to create your own rainbow?
Place a bucket full of water near a window. When the sun shines on it, put a mirror in the water so that the light reflects onto a white wall. Take your time to place the mirror in the best way, be patient and soon enough your rainbow will appear.