Particle Accelerator Run With Old Mac IIs

By on October 6, 2004

Wired’s Mac blog passes on an interesting post from a forum:

I went to the HERA particle accelerator in Hamburg, Germany […] and what made me smile was seeing more old macs than ever before, all being used as the backbone of controlling every aspect of the collider – absolutely amazing! :D (To put it in perspective for non-physicsy people, they’re helping to control two extremely high energy beams of protons/electrons, travelling around in a massive circle, and arranging it so that these two beams collide at highly precise points about the ring…and making sure that nothing goes horribly wrong)..

When he says ‘old Macs’, he’s talking about Mac II’s, Mac IIci’s, and etc., which I remember well from my days of doing tech support for the local school district. If my experience with those machines is any indication, look for Hamburg, Germany to be rent asunder by an errant particle beam any day now…



  1. Oh come now. A Mac II running System 6.0.5 or 7.1 without any superfluous 3rd party extensions will run solid as a rock. I’ve got an old 68000 30fx (a hot-rodded 40MHz IIfx in a monster steel case) running MacDNS and Remote Access Server, and the only time its ever been touched in the last two years was when I had to replace batteries in the UPS it’s connected to.

    My guess is that the apps these uber-geeks have running on these machines are custom built and don’t require a lot of horsepower. If it works, why reinvent the wheel?

  2. Well, you have to consider that my experience with the older Macs was sprinkled with the activities of about 500 1st through 3rd graders. Needless to say, these machines weren’t in the greatest shape.

    I’m sure the scientists don’t put their machines on wheel carts, and that they don’t go tearing down the hall with said wheel carts without unplugging the network cable from the computer. That has a deleterious effect on the unlucky Mac.

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