On a public tour of TRIUMF you’ll find a colour correct 1:20th scale model of TRIUMF’s large cyclotron. You might also hear the story about how this is the world’s ‘largest blue and peach and seafoam green machine ever built.’ There was intention behind the visual design of this machine that remains a useful safety feature.
This architectural model was built to test the jack-screw capability required to lift the super structure and sector magnets apart to support annual maintenance.
Those working in this perfectly symmetrical structure, need an easy and distinguishable way to know where they are so they can safely exit in the case of emergency. Today there are numerous other counter measures in place to ensure personnel safety, but this unique characteristic is also the story of the lab’s first arts & culture collaboration with one of British Columbia’s most famous artists and academics, Bertram Charles – also known as B.C. Binning.
At that time, B.C. Binning was a very prominent artist and a personal friend of TRIUMF’s first director, John D. Warren. Warren’s goal, as noted in the lab’s archives, were that the presentation of science to a visual community had to look exciting and make a statement. Warren wanted to reflect the machine’s industrial design with specific color co-ordination; Binning was presented with the idea and provided his recommendation.
With this history in mind, TRIUMF’s main cyclotron holds as one of the largest artist endeavours of BC Binning’s career, carefully preserved in a concrete and steel vault located 40-feet under ground.