Over the past year, the $80 million Molecular Horizons Building has taken shape, a masterpiece of design and cutting-edge construction. By the end of 2019, the purpose-built research centre will be complete.
You could walk past the latest construction site at the University of Wollongong and think that it’s just another building going up, with the usual cranes and noise. But behind the scaffolding is one of the most complex and ambitious building projects being undertaken anywhere in the world. And although Wollongong is geologically stable, this building is being constructed as if it’s in an earthquake zone.
That’s because the Molecular Horizons Building will house two of the most advanced pieces of scientific equipment in the world – Transmission Electron Microscopes (TEM), which are so sensitive, they need to be completely isolated from all forms of vibration and magnetism. And that has presented some interesting engineering challenges.
To understand the building, first you need to understand the microscopes.