26 February 2015

Congresswoman tours MagLab at annual Open House

Gwen Graham helps celebrate 20 years of awesome science at an institution dedicated by her dad.

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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — Twenty years after her father dedicated the National High Magnetic Field Laboratory, U.S. Rep. Gwen Graham visited the world-class facility before its annual Open House for a guided tour alongside Florida State University President John Thrasher.

During a tour led by MagLab Director Greg Boebinger on Feb. 21, the VIPs explored the lab’s dozens of magnets, including the Guinness World Record 45 tesla hybrid magnet and a 21 tesla superconducting magnet known as the world’s strongest MRI machine.

Graham and Thrasher also explored several of the 75 hands-on science demonstrations on tap for the day that illustrate how the lab’s high-field magnets are used to explore materials, energy and life. A levitating train demo showcased potential applications of the lab’s superconductivity research; a special xylophone demonstrated how magnets are used to weigh molecules and understand their chemistry; and MRI images of vegetables illustrated how high-powered magnets can help us understand life.

"This is one of a kind in the country and it's something that we're so proud of," Graham said. "The fact that young people, people of all ages can come here and see what incredible work FSU is doing in this field is so, so important."

After the tour, Graham mingled with some of the 5,500-plus science fans who flocked to the 20th Open House, which also featured crowd favorites such as a potato launcher, cryogenically frozen flowers, shrinking quarters, hand-made “comets” and much more.

The MagLab Open House, North Florida’s biggest science event of the year, has been a must-do Tallahassee tradition since it began two decades ago. Graham’s father, then-U.S. Senator Bob Graham, was among the political dignitaries at the MagLab’s dedication in 1994, along with then–Vice President Al Gore.

The National High Magnetic Field Laboratory is the world’s largest and highest-powered magnet facility. Located at Florida State University, the University of Florida and Los Alamos National Laboratory, the interdisciplinary National MagLab hosts scientists from around the world to perform basic research in high magnetic fields, advancing our understanding of materials, energy and life. The lab is funded by the National Science Foundation (DMR-1157490) and the state of Florida. For more information, visit us online at nationalmaglab.org or follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest at NationalMagLab.