How did you make so much neat stuff?
Yeah we make neat stuff. I've been here almost 8 years and whenever I come in I shake my head and say GEE WHIZ, how did all this extremely cool stuff get here... and I built a lot of it!
Did you ever wonder about the things that humans have done though? I mean, think of all that stuff from the pyramids in Egypt, to the walking on the moon, and all the bridges, buildings, cars and everything else. We might mess up periodically, and sometimes we make huge mistakes, but overall we are a pretty cool species. We've done some really cool things.
How we made all this stuff is pretty much like humans have always done things. The first part of all great or even small endeavors is a vision, an idea if you prefer. In our case the vision came from a professor at The University of Virginia, James McCarthy. He thought it would be a good idea for the United States to build a laboratory dedicated to studying the nucleus of the atom. That idea was debated and eventually many people agreed and proposed the idea to the government. The next step was to gather together the people that have the skills to achieve that vision. On most large projects like this, there is no single person who knows enough or has enough skill to do the whole job by their self. You have to split the job into pieces small enough for each single person to do. You need people to organize; architects to design the buildings; engineers to design equipment, software, and electronics; people to put everything together; and people to make sure all the supplies are available for everyone else. Think of it as big team made of smaller teams. Cooperation and communication between individuals and the different teams are essential to turn a vision into a reality. You might not know it, but one of the most important things you are learning in school is how to work well with others so that you can accomplish greater things in your life than you could have alone.
Brian Kross, Chief Detector Engineer (Other answers by Brian Kross)