In the late 1960s, when Batavia, Illinois ’, Fermilab was still known as the National Accelerator Laboratory (NAL), the finishing balance of a particle accelerator was unbalanced. Although the mile-long stainless steel tube was successfully built together in the allotted time, and with a budget of $ 250,000,000, its operators soon got into trouble: the heinous thing would never start again. Inside the ring-shape, the 200-billion-electron-volt proton synchrotron particle accelerator had a gap near the size of a tennis ball from which air was circulated to ensure that the flowing particles did not meet any obstacles.
What the source of the team’s holdup was and the fact that they were inconveniently human-sized meant they couldn’t easily figure it out. Enter: Bob. Bob Sheldon, who works in a laboratory near Oxford in the United Kingdom and is known for his entrepreneurial skills, was hired by a manager at Knoll to be a miracle worker. If something goes wrong or the materials are too expensive, it’s Bob’s job to find the solution. Certainly, when the team turned to him in the hungry moment of their need, he had an idea.
Hail from Yorkshire, where hunting was common, Bob was familiar with the use of ferrites by throwing rabbits into bars for noodles. A ferret fits perfectly with a tennis-ball-shaped hole and unknowingly has no manifold after a man-made old man. The organic solution was considered green and cheap (Felicia cost only $35), creating its own problems. It’s okay to send a ferry to find the source of the “obstacle”, but what to do if the ferry falls behind?
According to a report on Fermilab’s own website, the idea of using a mesh before shipping the ferret was revealed, but in the end they decided on a more domestic solution: diapers. All equipped with only one place to go, the ferret named Felicia was a great success. After finishing a few trial runs (encouraged by the promise of snacks) he proceeded on his path of pleasure in a 4 mile long tunnel and reached the other end. Tired, but in good health. Unfortunately, his reconstruction mission failed to break any barriers, so it was back on the drawing board or especially to mathematicians.