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Looking east along the nearly 2-mile accelerator building.Photo: Olivier Bonin/SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory

I recently visited the site of a soon-to-open superconducting particle accelerator, where researchers will probe things like the mechanisms behind photosynthesis and the efficiency of batteries using some of the most powerful X-rays in the world. Being there felt a bit like seeing the future. Here’s a look at what’s going on at SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory in Menlo Park, California.

Image: Looking east along the nearly 2-mile accelerator building.Photo: Olivier Bonin/SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory