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The domed building downslope to the left was constructed in 1942 for the 184 inch Cyclotron, one of the most important scientific research devices ever, known popularly as the "atom smasher". It now houses the Advanced Light Source, a third generation synchrotron that produces beams of light one billion times brighter than the sun.
The large round building directly below housed a similar research instrument, the Bevatron, from 1954 until 1993. In conjunction with the SuperHILAC linear accelerator it could accelerate atoms to nearly the speed of light. An adjacent diesel generator plant supplied 100,000 kilowatts for each acceleration cycle of 1.85 seconds.
Below the laboratory is the Berkeley campus of the University of California with 33,000 students (10,000 of them pursuing advanced degrees), 7600 faculty, and 12,000 staff (including myself).
Immediately above the camera is the Lawrence Hall of Science, dedicated to furthering scientific education at the pre-college level.
Across San Francisco Bay can be seen the silhouette of the city of San Francisco and the peninsula of Marin County. Right in the glare of the sun are Alcatraz Island and the Golden Gate. The next land to the west is Japan, 5100 miles (8300 kilometers) distant.