As IEEE Spectrum’s Samuel K. Moore writes, Takeyama, along with a team of researchers, decided to “dump 3.2 megajoules of energy” into the device, which is essentially a magnetic field generator.
The experiment was meant to produce a really, really strong magnetic field. Which it did — a 1200-telsa one, in fact, almost double what Takeyama planned for. As a result, the device exploded in spectacular fashion, and with enough force to batter the room around it:
Luckily, the machine sits in an iron cupboard to cushion the shock wave. Unfortunately, it wasn’t quite strong enough. “I designed the iron housing to endure against about 700 T,” says Takeyama. That was about 60 percent of what it actually delivered. “I didn’t expect it to be so high.” The enclosure door bent and broke.
OK, you’re probably wondering why you’d want to generate such potent magnetic fields? According to Takeyama, it’s all in aid of “solid-state physics” and “new, more precise measurements” of electron motion.
Hopefully, they don’t have to blow up a machine per experiment.