by Hiruni Manawadu
Have you ever wondered what would happen if you put a tomato into a particle accelerator? Well, our middle school students certainly did. A few months ago, the newspaper ran a poll asking what questions you would like answered by us, and one of the top voted questions was “What Would Happen if You Put a Tomato in a Particle accelerator?” So, to answer this question, I went to Dr. John Pearson, the Upper School Science Department Chair.
Dr. Pearson explained that most particle accelerators work inside of a vacuum. This causes the pressure outside of the tomato to decrease, and the pressure inside to increase. The strong pressure on the inside of the tomato causes it to explode. So, to answer the question “What Would Happen if You Put a Tomato Inside a Particle accelerator?” it would explode.
Here’s an infographic on how particle accelerators work from energy.gov: