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Caught on tape

An artwork 'Selex' at an exhibition in Chicago

Selex on exhibit at the Chicago Art Department. Selex is made from 400 data storage tapes from Fermilab’s charmed baryon experiment Selex. It’s part of the exhibit Tape: A Celebration. Image courtesy Chicago Art Departmen

This week, Symmetry Breaking - an online publication from Fermilab in Chicago and SLAC in the San Francisco Bay Area - carries an article about an interesting artwork paying hommage to a fixed-target charmed baryon experiment, SELEX (Segmented Large X baryon Spectrometer) that ran in Fermilab's Tevatron from 1996-97.

MIT postdoctoral associate Teppei Katori, who also works at Fermilab, created the work as part of the exhibit Tape: A Celebration, which is currently showing at the Chicago Art Department in the city’s Pilsen neighborhood.

In the artiwork, Katori’s has used 400 actual data storage tapes from the Selex experiment, according the Symmetry's report.

The 8-millimeter digital tape cassettes, affixed at their short sides to a white paper background, spell out the word ‘SELEX’. The background is photocopied pages of the 2005 Physical Review Letters paper on Selex’s most highly cited discovery.

'In physics experiments today, data tapes are stored in and accessed at remote computing farms. Out of experimenters’ sight, they are also almost always out of mind. But in the bygone era recalled by Selex, tapes were at scientists’ fingertips. Katori’s piece is a nostalgic recollection of that immediacy," they write.

Read the full article here.

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