From the mid-1940s there was a a dedicated effort by the Principal at the time, Sir Hector Hetherington, to establish the Natural Philosophy Department at the University of Glasgow as one of the foremost Physics Departments in the United Kingdom. With three phases of extension to the original Kelvin Building (built in 1907), which were completed in 1954, 1959 and 1966, the goal was essentially achieved as currently the School of Physics and Astronomy is one of the leading schools in its field in the UK.
One of the items installed in the building during this time was quite helpful in building up the University’s reputation in the field: an electron synchrotron, an important piece of equipment used in the study of particle physics, and the first one in Europe. Imagine the synchrotron in the Kelvin Building as a very early, and very small version of the Large Hadron Collider. (I’m not a physics student, so if someone understands synchrotrons better, please leave a comment about what it does and why it matters. It’s also one of the many things in the Kelvin Building I really want to find and photograph.
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