9 The Budker Institute Of Nuclear Physics

The Budker Institute Of Nuclear Physics

Posted on January 21, 2012 by

The Budker Institute of Nuclear Physics (BINP) is one of the major centers of advanced study of nuclear physics in Russia. It is located in the Siberian town Akademgorodok and was founded by Gersh Budker in 1959. Gersh Budker, also named Andrey Mikhailovich Budker, was a Soviet nuclear physicist. He was appointed Corresponding Member of the Siberian branch of the Soviet Academy of Sciences on March 28, 1958, and was made an Academician of the division of nuclear physics on June 26, 1964. He is best known for his invention in 1968 of electron cooling, a method of reducing the emittance of particle beams by thermalisation with a co-propagating electron beam. His portrait decorates the famous Round Table room in the institute. Following his death, the institute was renamed the Budker Institute of Nuclear Physics in his honour. Budker died in Akademgorodok from a heart attack at 59.

The BINP is not actually an institute because has its own production and unique for Russian technologies. Despite its name, the center was not involved either with military atomic science or nuclear reactors – instead, its concentration was on high-energy physics (particularly plasma physics) and particle physics. In 1961 the institute began building the first particle accelerator in the world which collided two beams of particles. The BINP now employs over 3000 people, and hosts several research groups and facilities.

The money that it makes goes to its employees as salaries and for new scientific experiments.  The BINP is the only institute in the world that pays for its experiments by itself by selling its inventions to other countries (particle accelerators, vacuum systems, resonators, etc.). Their devices help other countries disinfect medical equipment, grain, food, air and water. In other words, do things which are not of great importance in Russia. It also produces X-ray devices used at airports and medical institutions and a great number of other devices used around the world. However, percentage of orders it receives from Russia is insignificant.

The BINP is making this particle accelerator for Brookhaven National Laboratory (the United States).

Average salary of the BINP employee is not large but many of them consciously refuse raising it because they understand that the more money they will receive, the less money will be left for experiments. Still, the institute can afford sending its workers to long business trips abroad, maintains its own recreation center and do other things that need substantial investments.

A VEPP-3 particle accelerator installation.

This is a VEPP-3 bunker , X-ray fluorescence analysis station.

Besides, the BINP has a free electron laser (FEL), the only laser of its type in Russia. They are making a FEL in Germany right now which is a joint project of France, Germany and the BINP. Its cost exeeds 1 billion Euros.

A free electron laser is a laser that shares the same optical properties as conventional lasers but which uses some very different operating principles to form the beam. FELs use a relativistic electron beam as the lasing medium which moves freely through a magnetic structure, hence the term free electron. The free electron laser has the widest frequency range of any laser type, and can be widely tunable,currently ranging in wavelength from microwaves, through terahertz radiation and infrared, to the visible spectrum, to ultraviolet, to X-rays.

A FEL electron gun.

Its cooling water level control system.


The FEL.

Protection glasses in one of the institute’s control centers.

One of the FEL stations. Those black circles on paper sheets have been made by the FEL.

An old oscillograph. Next to it, there is a new boring-looking Tektronix one.

Installation of an ambipolar adiabatic trap (AMBAL). It is out of order now.


A VEPP-2000 is a modernized version of the VEPP-2M particle accelerator. It was put into operation in 2011.

“Magnet is on”.

The VEPP-2000 control center.

The VEPP-2000 control center. Above the table, there is a plan of the accelerating complex.

An electron and positron booster for the VEPP-2000.

This spherical neutral detector detects particles with no charge.

KEDR is the largest of their detectors and it was used to weigh a tau lepton. The one in the photo is partially disassembled because they are fixing and modernizing it before another experiment. Such modernization may last for several years.

A top view of the KEDR.

Its cryogenic cooling system. These tanks contain liquid nitrogen that cools the detector’s magnet.


In terms of accelerator physics, the BINP can be considered a world class institute because it is one of the two institutes in the world which have invented a collider.

A tunnel of its VEPP-5 ring. It is so big that a bus can drive here. They haven’t finished the ring yet (because of lack of financing).

In the VEPP-5 tunnel.

Magnet elements supporters.

A linear accelerator room.

Magnet elements.

Magnet elements.

These are the man on duty and the lady who takes care of visitors of the institute.

A storage ring and cooler.


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9 Responses to “The Budker Institute Of Nuclear Physics”

  1. (r)evolutionist says:

    At the end of a long day at the machine shop I feel like I’ve been shot by an Electron Gun. Some of the text above (second pic) was critical of Russian society. Was this post written by a Pole? (lame joke). The U.S. needs science equipment from Russia because all we manufacture anymore is war materiel.

  2. 山下智久 says:

    happy new year··

  3. Scott says:

    Anyone else share the irony that our prehistoric ancestors spent millions of years banging rocks together, gradually taking note that some rocks would spark and could light dry tinder etc, and now we continue to do the same thing – only the rocks have been replaced with miniscule accelerated protons and we take note of what comes out of the collisions, in a desperate effort to understand what stuff is made of.

    “Keep banging the rocks together guys” (roughly quoted from the Hitch-Hikers Guide to the Galaxy by D. Adams)

    BTW, I may be wrong, but I think a lot of the plasma work here goes towards fusion projects such as ITER.

  4. Y5K says:

    Sorry to hear that things are up to financing, wish good luck to the scientists.

  5. weird wayne says:

    Let’s drink a toast to quantum physics!! In another universe I get a better life!

  6. Osip says:

    Pity the poor fellow who has to locate the electrical fault in that tangled mess of wires!

  7. Pedro says:

    the guy in the GOL-3 = hulk wannabe lol

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