An accelerator makes things go, or accelerate. The gas pedal on a car is an accelerator, but so is a machine that scientists use to speed particles up and smash them.

An accelerator gets things going. In a car, the accelerator is the gas pedal that you mash with your foot when you’re ready to speed off into the sunset. In physics, a particle accelerator speeds off in a different way — it takes a particle, such as an electron, and speeds it up to almost the speed of light, and smashes it into an atom. Why? To see what it’s made of.

Definitions of accelerator
  1. noun
    a pedal that controls the throttle valve
    synonyms: accelerator pedal, gas, gas pedal, gun, throttle
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    type of:
    foot lever, foot pedal, pedal, treadle
    a lever that is operated with the foot
  2. noun
    a valve that regulates the supply of fuel to the engine
    synonyms: throttle, throttle valve
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    type of:
    control consisting of a mechanical device for controlling the flow of a fluid
  3. noun
    (chemistry) a substance that initiates or accelerates a chemical reaction without itself being affected
    synonyms: catalyst
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    (chemistry) a substance that retards a chemical reaction or diminishes the activity of a catalyst
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    a biochemical catalyst such as an enzyme
    any of several complex proteins that are produced by cells and act as catalysts in specific biochemical reactions
    platinum black
    a fine black powder of platinum; used as a catalyst in chemical reactions
    ADA, adenosine deaminase
    an enzyme found in mammals that can catalyze the deamination of adenosine into inosine and ammonia
    any of a group of proteins found in saliva and pancreatic juice and parts of plants; help convert starch to sugar
    an enzyme that hydrolyses acetylcholine (into choline and acetic acid)
    an enzyme that induces coagulation
    any enzyme that catalyzes the hydrolysis of collagen and gelatin
    one of a series of enzymes in the blood serum that are part of the immune response
    enzyme found in most plant and animal cells that functions as an oxidative catalyst; decomposes hydrogen peroxide into oxygen and water
    Cox, cyclooxygenase
    either of two related enzymes that control the production of prostaglandins and are blocked by aspirin
    any of the enzymes that hydrolize the carboxyl group
    an enzyme that removes the iodine radical
    an enzyme that catalyzes the hydrolysis of disaccharides into monosaccharides
    a pancreatic enzyme that catalyzes the hydrolysis of elastin
    enzyme in the intestinal juice that converts inactive trypsinogen into active trypsin
    enzyme that acts as a catalyst in converting histidine to histamine
    Hyazyme, hyaluronidase, spreading factor
    an enzyme (trade name Hyazyme) that splits hyaluronic acid and so lowers its viscosity and increases the permeability of connective tissue and the absorption of fluids
    an enzyme that catalyzes its substrate to an isomeric form
    an enzyme that catalyzes the conversion of a proenzyme to an active enzyme
    an enzyme secreted in the digestive tract that catalyzes the breakdown of fats into individual fatty acids that can be absorbed into the bloodstream
    lysozyme, muramidase
    an enzyme found in saliva and sweat and tears that destroys the cell walls of certain bacteria
    MAO, monoamine oxidase
    an enzyme that catalyzes the oxidation of many body compounds (e.g., epinephrine and norepinephrine and serotonin)
    an enzyme of nitrogen-fixing microorganisms that catalyzes the conversion of nitrogen to ammonia
    general term for enzymes that catalyze the hydrolysis of nucleic acid by cleaving chains of nucleotides into smaller units
    any of the enzymes that catalyze biological oxidation
    an enzyme that catalyzes oxidation-reduction
    a proteolytic enzyme obtained from the unripe papaya; used as a meat tenderizer
    beta-lactamase, penicillinase
    enzyme produced by certain bacteria that inactivates penicillin and results in resistance to that antibiotic
    an enzyme produced in the stomach that splits proteins into peptones
    precursor of pepsin; stored in the stomach walls and converted to pepsin by hydrochloric acid in the stomach
    any of a group of enzymes that act as a catalyst in the hydrolysis of organic phosphates
    fibrinolysin, plasmin
    an enzyme that dissolves the fibrin of blood clots
    an enzyme that catalyzes the formation of new DNA and RNA from an existing strand of DNA or RNA
    peptidase, protease, proteinase, proteolytic enzyme
    any enzyme that catalyzes the splitting of proteins into smaller peptide fractions and amino acids by a process known as proteolysis
    an enzyme that catalyses the biochemical reduction of some specified substance
    chymosin, rennin
    an enzyme that occurs in gastric juice; causes milk to coagulate
    a set of enzymes believed to snip pieces off a longer protein producing fragments of amyloid protein that bunch up and create amyloid protein plaques in brain tissue (the pathological hallmark of Alzheimer's)
    an enzyme produced by some hemolytic strains of streptococcus that dissolves fibrinous secretions from infections; used medicinally (often in combination with streptokinase)
    an enzyme produced by some strains of streptococcus that can liquefy blood clots by converting plasminogen to plasmin; used medicinally in some cases of myocardial infarction and pulmonary embolism
    SOD, superoxide dismutase
    an enzyme that catalyzes the conversion of superoxide into hydrogen peroxide and oxygen
    an enzyme in eukaryotic cells that can add telomeres to the ends of chromosomes after they divide
    any of various enzymes that move a chemical group from one compound to another compound
    an enzyme of pancreatic origin; catalyzes the hydrolysis of proteins to smaller polypeptide units
    an enzyme that catalyzes the hydrolysis of urea into carbon dioxide and ammonia; is present in intestinal bacteria
    a complex of enzymes that cause glycolysis; originally found in yeast but also present in higher organisms
    type of:
    (biology) any agency bringing about activation; a molecule that increases the activity of an enzyme or a protein that increases the production of a gene product in DNA transcription
  4. noun
    a scientific instrument that increases the kinetic energy of charged particles
    synonyms: atom smasher, particle accelerator
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    show 13 types...
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    betatron, induction accelerator
    accelerates a continuous beam of electrons to high speeds by means of the electric field produced by changing magnetic flux
    charge-exchange accelerator
    an accelerator in which high-energy ions escape from plasma following charge exchange
    Cockcroft and Walton accelerator, Cockcroft and Walton voltage multiplier, Cockcroft-Walton accelerator, Cockcroft-Walton voltage multiplier
    a high-voltage machine in which rectifiers charge capacitors that discharge and drive charged particles through an accelerating tube
    an accelerator in which two beams of particles are forced to collide head on
    an accelerator that imparts energies of several million electron-volts to rapidly moving particles
    linac, linear accelerator
    ions are accelerated along a linear path by voltage differences on electrodes along the path
    a cyclotron that accelerates protons up to several billion electron volts
    electron accelerator
    collider that consists of an accelerator that collides electrons and positrons
    microwave linear accelerator
    linear accelerator that uses microwaves
    proton accelerator
    a collider that collides beams of protons and antiprotons
    superconducting supercollider
    a collider that operates at very low temperatures
    cyclotron that achieves relativistic velocities by modulating the frequency of the accelerating electric field
    cyclotron in which the electric field is maintained at a constant frequency
    type of:
    scientific instrument
    an instrument used by scientists
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