Postcard from Campinas – the site of Brazil’s future synchrotron

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For the first time this week I woke to a brilliant blue sky, and below my hotel room I could see young Brazilians enjoying a quick game of football in the relative cool of the morning. Away from the traffic jams and unseasonably wet weather of the past few days, this seemed much more like the image of Brazil that’s projected to the outside world.

Today I was in Campinas, the third largest city in the state of São Paulo, some 100km north-east of São Paulo itself. On the outskirts of the city is the National Center for Energy and Materials (CNPEM), home to Brazil’s synchrotron source as well as three national laboratories for nanotechnology, biosciences, and ethanol production – which is a big deal for Brazil, since it offers a way to produce fuel from its abundant sugar cane.I first visited the site last year as part of my research for Science Impact – Brazil, a special report produced by IOP Publishing in partnership with the Brazilian Physical Society. During that visit I found that CNPEM plans to build a third-generation synchrotron source called Sirius that will rival the best in the world, and I was curious to find out whether the facility is still on track to open to users in 2017.

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