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Scientists Unveil Monster Synchrotron (Australia)

This article was originally published in PharmAsia News

Executive Summary

Australia is opening its first synchotron in Melbourne, launching what scientists describe as a new era in research. The synchotron, sometimes described as a super microscope, can offer a glimpse inside a human cell. The process creates light a million times brighter than the sun, 24 hours a day, and also creates X-rays, microwaves, and gamma rays that can be used in a huge range of scientific medical and industrial experiments. Research program director Dr Richard Garrett says the $200 million facility will put Australia at the forefront of research. "Every experiment you can do with X-rays you can do much better on the synchrotron, and lots of experiments that are not possible anywhere else can be done on a synchrotron," he says. "If you just think something you do with a synchrotron in a second, it's going to take you 100 days if you really need all that brightness to doing it in another source. "It really takes advantage of Australia's historical development of synchrotrons using overseas facilities." Sydney University's Professor Peter Lay says the machine can help fight a very long list of health problems. "If you can understand the cellular level - what are the earliest molecular events that actually cause the disease - then the whole idea is to stop those before they happen, so to try and stop cardiovascular disease before it actually happens to people rather than trying to treat it later" he says. "We're using [synchrotrons] in new pharmaceutical design, in studies of toxins and we're using them in disease diagnosis. We're using them also to understand the fundamental aspects of disease and how we might prevent those." Up until now, Australia has been sending hundreds of scientists to synchrotrons in places like Japan, Taiwan, and the United States. (Click here for more
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