Public Display Cloud Chamber

Our public display cloud chamber in the centre of the Elliott Lecture Wing was constructed at UVic as a collaboration between VISPA and artist Prof. Lucy Pullen of the Visual Arts department at UVic.  Engineer Mark Lenckowski, machinist Chris Secord, and electronics shop supervisor Neil Honkanen constructed the chamber.  It uses a two-compression-stage refrigeration system that we designed in-house, and its cold plate runs continuously at a temperature of -80 C. It has a heated glass surface (indium-tin-oxide transparent resistive surface sandwiched in glass, made in Pennsylvania), and a continuous-flow pump for the alcohol.  The project was led by Dr. Justin Albert

The Cloud Chamber went on public display beginning in January 2011. It started its public life on tour for 4 months as a featured exhibit at the Henry Art Gallery at the University of Washington in Seattle. We moved it back to Canada in May 2011, and it has been permanently installed in the Elliott lecture building here at UVic since September 2011, so students can see muons in between their classes.

Cloud Chamber picture 1    Cloud Chamber picture 2

Cloud Chamber picture 3    Cloud Chamber picture 4

The cloud chamber has its own website at

Future displays include interactive signage for the cloud chamber, and may potentially also include a spark chamber suspended above the cloud chamber, a public outdoor projection of ATLAS real-time event display data on the outer wall of the Elliott building (facing the parking lot and Ring Rd.), and other ideas.  Please contact Justin Albert and/or Dean Karlen if you are interested in helping with public displays or have additional ideas.